Meatloaf Laws

When is that last time anyone out there had meatloaf?  If it’s something that you would never make of your own free will, chances are you’ve had an awful meatloaf experience in the past.  But meatloaf can (and should) be wonderfully delicious.

Here are some basic tips for a moist and flavorful meatloaf that you can actually look forward to preparing for family and friends:

1. Don’t use lean meats.

Ground turkey breast and buffalo can be very good, but a winning meatloaf they do not make. You need at least half of you meatloaf mixture to be quite generous in fat. Think ground pork or chuck.

2. Caramelize your vegetables first.

By cooking the natural sugars out of your veggies, you bring the flavor of a dish to a whole new level.  Anytime you want something to be rich in flavor, you will benefit from cooking any vegetables that will be added in advance.

3. Whatever your drying agent, use it sparingly.

Flour or breadcrumbs will help to bind your meatloaf, but going overboard will make your meatloaf dry. If you’re unable to make your own breadcrumbs, make sure and buy some that have an ingredient list that resembles bread (flour, water, yeast, and salt, in case you forgot).

Classic Meatloaf with Porcini Mushrooms

Classic Meatloaf with Porcini Mushrooms:

1.5 # ground beef (not lean)

1.5 # ground pork

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 medium red onion, small dice

2 celery stalks, small dice

1 medium carrot, small dice

5 – 6 cloves garlic, chopped

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 small package dried porcini mushrooms (about 1/2 oz.)

3/4 cup dry white wine (a dry red is fine, too)

fresh thyme, chopped

fresh rosemary, chopped

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 C. almond flour or fresh breadcrumbs

S & P

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Pour the wine over the dried mushrooms and microwave for 1-2 minutes or until the wine is hot.  Set aside.

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, saute the onion, carrot and celery in the olive oil until beginning to brown, about 5-6 minutes. You should only need to stir about once every minute.  If you find the vegetables browning too soon, reduce the heat.

Season with S & P, add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring often, for another 6-8 minutes or until the vegetables are very caramelized.  Lastly, add in the tomato paste and mix thoroughly, allowing it to toast for at least one minute in the pan. 

Caramelized vegetables and tomato paste:

Caramelized vegetables and tomato paste

Pour in the wine that was used to soak the mushrooms, setting the mushrooms aside.  Cook for just about one minute, or until the wine has evaporated.  Remove from the heat to cool.

Chop the mushrooms finely and set aside.  Chop the rosemary and thyme so that you have about 1 Tbsp. total of the herbs.

Place the ground meats into a large bowl and sprinkle generously with S & P.  Add in the partly cooled vegetables, the mushrooms, herbs, and the 2 beaten eggs. Mix thoroughly with your hands, about 30 turns.  Sprinkle in the flour or breadcrumbs and mix again just to distribute.

Divide the meatloaf mixture in half and place each half onto one side of a foil or parchment lined baking sheet.  Form each half into a loaf shape, approximately 9” x 3” x 3” high. 

Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees.  Bake for an additional 35 to 40 minutes tops.

Remove from the oven and allow the meatloaf to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

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