In my mind, meatloaf is a perfect comfort food. Especially when it is served accompanied by a pile of mash and a rich gravy. I had a desire for homely comfort this week so made one of my favourite meatloaf recipes.
This is a dish that tastes good hot, and is equally good sliced in a sandwich the next day, making this an ideal mid-week meal.
- 500gm minced meat (I use a combination of beef and sausage)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon capers, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup matzo meal (substitute rice crumbles if you need to follow a Gluten Free diet)
- 1 tablespoon catsup
- 1/2 tablespoon American-style mustard
- 1 large egg
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon total dried herbs (2 tablespoons fresh, finely chopped) – what I use depends on what sort of sausage meat I use and what flavours I am aiming for.
- Some idea include parsley, sage, thyme, marjoram or oregano.
- 2 – 3 slices dry-cured bacon
A note about the meat: If you don’t eat pork or bacon, substitute a turkey or beef bacon, or leave it off.
Don’t like beef or pork, use turkey mince instead. Make sure to use herbs which go with whatever meat you are using. A lamb mince with rosemary would be nice, for instance. Whatever you do though, use a mince that has some fat in it. Don’t go for the lean or extra-lean mince. The fat is going to be drained off after cooking, so it won’t be in your food when you put it on your plate, I promise! It’s the fat which gives flavour, and keeps the loaf from being dry.
Put all of the ingredients except the bacon in a large mixing bowl. Now, at this point you could use a spoon to mix everything together, but frankly if works better if you just get your hands in there and mix it by hand. Make sure to remove any rings and wash your hands beforehand. (It’s much easier to keep rings clean than to try to clean them afterwards, says she from experience.)The kidlets like helping at this stage, and provided they’ve given their hands a good scrub, I let them. And then make sure they wash hands again afterwards before leaving the kitchen!
Place the mixture into a loaf pan and shape it into a domed loaf shape. I push my fingers down each side to form a space between the side of the loaf and the pan. This provides a reservoir for any fat which comes out during the cooking, and can be drained off half-way through and at the end of cooking.
Place the 2 – 3 slices of bacon across the top. This serves to baste the meatloaf during cooking, keeps the top from getting too dry during cooking, and imparts a nice flavour. If you omit the bacon, cover the loaf with foil while cooking, remove it the last 15 minutes.
Place the meatloaf into a moderately-hot (about 350F/Gas 5) preheated oven and let it cook 75 – 90 minutes. If the bacon is getting too browned, put a bit of foil over the loaf the remainder of the cooking time.
I served my meatloaf with fresh veggies, creamy mashed potatoes and a rich gravy.
And next day, I cut the leftovers into slices for lunchtime sandwiches – served with a good dollop of catsup and mustard.