Thursday, January 22, 2009

Meatloaf Recipe

This is a meatloaf recipe that sort of just evolved out of cooking experiments done by my mother and myself with the help of my brothers and sisters when I was a teenager. We (especially my mother and I) are not big on measuring, so everything is approximate, guessed on what looks good, and seasoned to taste. Sometimes it comes out really good and sometimes really awful, but either way, we never make a bland meatloaf!

In a large pyrex bowl, crush 3 large handfuls of Kellogg's Cornflakes to powder using your hands.
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
a dash of parsley
a dash of sage
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary

Mix these dry ingredients together.

Then add:
2 cloves minced garlic
1/3 of a whole onion, chopped
1/3 of a whole green pepper, chopped

In a separate bowl, beat 2 whole eggs
Add the eggs and vegetables to the dry ingredients in the pyrex bowl, and mix

After mixing the other ingredients, only then add the hamburger. How much hamburger? I dunno - enough to fill the bowl! The key to making good meatloaf is to handle the ground beef as little as possible. It's already been ground up, and if you mush it around too much mixing it, you'll end up with a meatloaf the consistency of canned cat food. A good meatloaf has the same texture as a grilled hamburger patty.

To mix the meatloaf right, first pull the hamburger apart while breaking as few "strands" as possible. Then fluff the mixture almost as you would if you were mixing butter into popcorn. The goal is distribute the seasonings and vegetables throughout the meat, not to homogenize it. Don't push the meat back together as you mix it; we'll take care of the density by packing it down when we actually put it in the pan.

Place the mixed meatloaf in the pan, and pack it down as solidly but don't smush it. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix the SECRET sauce:
1/2 cup ketchup
1 heaping teaspoon brown sugar
two dashes of chili powder
a hint of nutmeg
a heavy dash of black pepper
1 clove of garlic, ground to a paste
a sprinkle of fresh rosemary, crushed and torn
one drop of yellow mustard

The sauce - I just made that up. Tastes great. Tangy, like teryaki sauce. Melissa's grandmother had suggested the brown sugar and mustard.

Pour the sauce over the top of the meatloaf and spread evenly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake 1 hour or until firm. If it isn't delicious, don't blame me - you must be doing it wrong. :D
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