Growing up in the Midwest, meatloaf was a staple comfort food during the long and cold winter months. The combination of ground beef, sweet onions, bread or crackers, salt, pepper, and a sweet and tangy ketchup glaze seems to make every midwesterner that I know very happy during the winter time. I feel that it is almost customary that every midwestern mother has her own meatloaf recipe, or at least her own unique addition or adaptation of one. In my house, my grandma Carolyn’s meatloaf recipe reigned supreme, and no matter how hard my dad and I tried, regardless of the step-by-step handwritten instructions given to us by my grandma, our meatloaf never seemed to taste as good as hers… she just has the magic touch in the kitchen, where muscle memory and eye measurements outperform numerical metrics.
Whether served hot right out of the oven, or cold between two slices of buttered bread, a basic meatloaf comes together in minutes and provides the hearty and stick-to-your-ribs satisfaction that most individuals crave during the winter months. I no longer eat meat, and I haven’t for years, but I vividly remember the delicious comfort that meatloaf provides, a comfort that is both filling and warming, as well as nurturing.
In hopes to provide you with the best possible meatloaf recipe, I called my grandma this afternoon to request verbal instructions of her exact procedure. Of course, as mentioned above, she reiterated that she relies only on sight rather than measurement, but she was able to provide me with a quantifiable recipe that is similar to hers. Thankfully, it’s quite easy, as any meatloaf recipe should be, containing only a handful of simple ingredients. Of course, because I can never leave well enough alone, I’m going to swap out saltine crackers for The Matzo Project Salted Matzo Crackers and Heinz Ketchup for D.a.T. Ketchup which I think will provide a more unique and complex flavor, as D.aT. Ketchup boasts a few additional spices that Heinz Ketchup doesn’t contain. I’m leaving everything else alone, so please rest assured that this meatloaf will be nearly as good as my grandmas.
First things first, it’s all about the beef. Not all ground beef is created equal as it can contain various amounts of fat, so when choosing ground beef for your meatloaf, choose something with a higher fat content to insure that your meatloaf doesn’t get too dry during the cooking process. 70/30, which is the ratio of lean meat to fat, is a good choice, as the higher fat content will keep your meatloaf moist as well as add additional flavor and richness. Second, a ketchup glaze is key. A tangy and sweet glaze is not only delicious, but is also needed to cut through the fatty richness of the meatloaf rounding out the flavor to make it even more palatable. Lastly, chose your additions wisely, as simplicity lends to the best final result.
I hope you all have had a wonderful start to the new year! Cheers to lots of love, laughter, hugs, happiness, and of course, delicious food this 2019!
Happy Friday, everyone!
Classic Meatloaf, Amplified
1 lb 70/30 ground beef
1 c crushed Matzo Project Salted Matzo Crackers
1 c minced white onion
1/2 c whole milk
1 large egg, whisked
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp D.a.T. Ketchup
1/4 c D.a.T. Ketchup
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tbsp white vinegar
-preheat oven to 350 degrees
-to a large mixing bowl, add ground beef, crushed crackers, onion, milk, egg, 2 tbsp ketchup, and seasonings. Mix until just combined, being careful not to overwork the meat
-gently compress meat mixture into a 9”x5” loaf pan
-meanwhile, combine 1/4 c ketchup with brown sugar and vinegar and then spread on top of meat mixture
-bake for 1 hour, uncovered, and then remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing