After writing my post about Leftover Oddments Soup and mentioning the best leftovers possible – meatloaf sandwiches – all of a sudden I just had to make meatloaf. Imagining that sandwich with soft white bread, mayonnaise and a thick slab of meatloaf had me rushing to the market to buy the ingredients. In fact, I have had such a sandwich for the last two days, first with lightly toasted sourdough and today with plain soft egg bread. Today was definitely the winner. So satisfying. Such a trip down comfort food memory lane.
My Mom used to make meatloaf in the 1950’s, but it was a simple recipe with hamburger, chopped onions, an egg, a squirt of ketchup and mustard, and crushed saltine crackers. We usually had it with baked potatoes and canned spinach (which I loved). She probably learned to make this during WWII when cooks were stretching their meat with a number of additives, such as bread, rice, oatmeal and vegetables.
Cooked mixtures of minced meat go back to Roman times, but the meat had to be chopped laboriously by hand. Meatloaf in its modern form didn’t appear in cookbooks until the invention of the meat grinder in the late 1800s. Early recipes called for veal, which was cheaper than beef and meatloaf was the mainstay of American cuisine during the Great Depression. Variations of meatloaf appear in many countries, many with hard-boiled eggs tucked inside. One theory is that American meatloaf had its origins in scrapple, a mixture of ground pork and cornmeal served by German-Americans in Pennsylvania since Colonial times.
The little cousin of meatloaf is the meatball. I actually kept out enough meat mixture to make two big meatballs, which I’m planning on using with a pasta recipe. A meatball is just a small meatloaf, really, isn’t it? While I was surfing the net for meatloaf info, I ran into a couple of websites about the world record for the biggest meatball on the planet. I figured maybe the size of a basketball? Oh no, these babies were 200 pounds, 222.5 pounds and 400 pounds. And, in my opinion, they look like big meatloafs to me.
Mirepoix Meatloaf Recipe ~ Simple & Easy
1 small or ½ of medium onion
1 small celery stalk
1 small carrot
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup milk
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
1 large garlic clove, pressed
2 teaspoon parsley, minced
1 teaspoon basil, minced
½ teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
1 pound ground beef
½ pound ground pork
2 slices bread, crusts removed, chopped small or processed
½ cup ketchup
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a food processor, whiz the onion, celery and carrot until finely minced. Or finely mince or grate by hand. I started with my large processor and then transferred to my mini-chopper.
3. Place the first 11 ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
4. Add the beef and pork to the bowl. With your hands, incorporate the vegetable mixture into the ground meats just until homogenous. Add the chopped bread and mix in.
5. Place the meat mixture in a loaf pan and round the top and sides.
6. In small bowl, mix together the ketchup, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Spoon over meatloaf top and sides, smoothing evenly to desired thickness. I like lots. You may have ketchup mixture left over.
7. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees.
8. Remove from oven and carefully decant the juices surrounding the meatloaf into a small bowl. Secure the meatloaf in the pan when pouring so it doesn’t fall out. I used a skewer. Skim fat from reserved pan juices in bowl.
9. Place meatloaf on serving platter and slice to desired thickness. Serve with mashed potatoes. Drizzle pan juices over sliced meatloaf on plate.