Comfort food is in, and no food is more comforting than meatloaf. No longer the butt of school cafeteria jokes, modern meatloaf has matured from the mundane meal of yore into a marvelously multinational dish that can be made with chicken or turkey, salmon or shrimp. In fact, it doesn't even have to have any meat in it at all. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is its convenience. Perfectly practical and practically perfect, meatloaf is the ideal meal for the way people cook in today's time-crunched world: It can be prepared ahead of time, is easy to serve, is incredibly versatile and can be served hot or cold. Besides, everybody loves meatloaf!
This mouthwatering collection of recipes is the perfect cookbook for loaf lovers of every stripe. For traditionalists, there's Barbecued Meatloaf and Pork and Veal Rollatini. People who prefer poultry will find a chapter on Turkey and Chicken loaves, such as Lemon Chicken and Couscous Loaf or Southwest Turkey and Jalapeno Cornbread Loaf. Seafood makes surprisingly savory loaves, and in these pages readers will find recipes for Dilled Salmon Loaf and Brandade Loaf with Salt Cod. There are also marvelous meatless loaves, such as Primavera Garden Loaf, Herbed Kasha and Carrot Loaf, for vegetarians and the health conscious.
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Melanie Barnard is a food writer and monthly columnist for Bon Appetit magazine. Her many cookbooks include Parties, Cheap Eats, Low-Fat Grilling, and Marinades.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
This is a slightly updated version of the meatloaf we had nearly once a week when I was a child. My mother often made it for Monday night supper, which luckily provided me with leftovers to pack for
sandwiches in my Tuesday and Wednesday school lunch. Not only did I like this lunch a lot, it was eminently tradable, so sometimes I would pack two of them and barter one for a couple of those little packaged pink-frosted cakes that we never got at home. It is also the two parts
lean ground beef chuck, one part ground pork, and one part ground veal mix that Mom used in this meatloaf that formed the basis for my own "meatloaf mix."
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until limp and some of the fat is rendered.
Remove the bacon from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Thinly slice the scallions, separating white and green parts. In a small bowl, soak the bread crumbs in the milk and sour cream for 10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, use your hands to gently but thoroughly combine the meat, onion, celery leaves, parsley, thyme, salt, nutmeg, pepper, garlic, eggs, the sliced white part of the scallions, and the soaked bread crumbs and any liquid.
In a 13 by 9-inch baking pan, shape the meat into a 9 by 5-inch loaf or pat it into a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan, smoothing the top. Arrange bacon strips on top.
Bake for 35 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the
chili sauce, brown sugar, and mustard. Spread over the partially baked meatloaf. Sprinkle with the sliced scallion greens. Bake an additional
25 minutes or until the meatloaf is firm, the top is browned, and a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers 155 degrees.
Let the meatloaf stand in the pan for 10 minutes before slicing
Leftovers: Make sandwiches with firm white sandwich bread,
mayonnaise (my choice) or mustard (my sister's choice), thinly sliced tomato, and soft lettuce leaves.
Our Prizewinning Meatloaf
This recipe is reprised from Sunday Suppers, Brooke Dojny's and
my first cookbook. At the time, it won the prize as the house favorite
among our teenage children. Now that they are grown, they each
have the recipe, and its easy preparation and great taste have made it part of their cooking repertoire--flattery that is much nicer for us
than a prize any day.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, use your hands to gently but thoroughly mix all of the ingredients.
In a 13 by 9-inch baking pan, shape the meat into a 9 by 5-inch loaf or pat it into a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan, smoothing the top. Bake about
1 hour until the meatloaf is firm, the top is richly browned, and a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers 155 degrees.
Let the meatloaf stand in the pan for 10 minutes, then cut into slices to serve.
Leftovers: This is the loaf for a classic meatloaf sandwich on white
bread with a little mustard or mayonnaise (or both) and some soft
Double Cheeseburger Loaf
I love cheeseburgers, but I think that I like this meatloaf even
better, especially when served with sesame-seed rolls and french fries. Unlike most meatloaf recipes, here the onion is mixed in raw so that it retains some crunchiness.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until it is limp and some of the fat is rendered, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the bacon from the skillet and reserve it.
In a large mixing bowl, use your hands to gently but thoroughly mix together the meat, bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of the cheese, onion,
mayonnaise, relish, mustard, salt, pepper, and egg. Pat the mixture into a shallow 2-quart baking pan. Spread the top of the loaf with the ketchup, then lay the bacon strips over the ketchup. Bake until the loaf is firm
and the bacon is crisp, 45 to 50 minutes, sprinkling the top of the loaf with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese to melt during the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking. Internal temperature should be 155 degrees. Let the meatloaf stand in the baking dish for 10 minutes, then cut into squares to serve.
Leftovers: Reheat slices in a microwave and serve on sesame buns with
lettuce, tomato, and ketchup.
The Big Meatball
The extra-thick spaghetti, called perciatelli, is in scale with this meatball. Cut the meatball into wedges and serve on the spaghetti with the sauce. Or present it whole atop the pasta on a large platter.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, use
your hands to gently but thoroughly combine the beef, sausage, bread crumbs, parsley, cheese, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and eggs.
Place the meat in the center of a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Use your hands to shape into a smooth rounded dome 3 to 4 inches high. Bake
35 minutes. Spoon or drain off any fat in the dish. Pour the marinara sauce over the loaf and bake 20 minutes more until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers 155 degrees. Let stand in
the pan for 10 minutes.
Serve the meatloaf cut in wedges with about 2/3 cup sauce per serving.
Leftovers: Cut into chunks and reheat in additional marinara sauce.
Serve spooned into hero or grinder rolls. Add a few slices of mozzarella cheese and some sauteed green peppers, if you wish.
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