Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I know meatloaf is nothing fancy and by no means gourmet, but there are times when it just hits the spot...like comfort food. While the term "comfort food" is typically applied to something warm, rich and filling, I often think of this meatloaf as my ultimate comfort food. Considering the lean meat content and mixture of finely chopped veggies that comprise this dish, it really isn’t unhealthy - making it a low-guilt comfort food. This recipe is exceptionally versatile as it can be made with virtually any ground meat: beef, turkey, pork, etc. I used beef this time and must admit - the leftovers make delicious meatloaf sandwiches!
Once you combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly using your hands (I admit, I glove up my hands with disposable rubber gloves, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with clean, bare hands getting involved), then shape your mixture into a loaf. No need to use a loaf pan, the egg and bread crumbs will hold this meatloaf together quite adequately.
4 slices white or wheat bread, torn into pieces
2 1/2 pound ground meat
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and loosely chopped into large chunks
2 cloves garlic
2 ribs celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup fresh, flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 large eggs
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tsp. mustard
1 tbs. salt
2 tsp. ground black pepper*
For Topping(to be added during last 20 minutes of baking):
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tsp. mustard
2 Tbs. brown sugar
Mix the above three ingredients until smooth.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place bread in the bowl of a food processor; pulse until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a large bowl; add ground meat. Place onion, garlic, celery, carrots and parsley in food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Add to meat mixture; combine using your hands. Note: the texture and shape of your meatloaf will not be the same if you attempt to mix with a spoon or in a large mixture-must be mixed with your hands! Add eggs, ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper; combine thoroughly, again using your hands. Shape into a loaf and place in a large casserole dish. Cover very loosely with a foil tent and bake in 400 degree oven, about 90 minutes or until meat thermometer reaches 160 degrees, remembering uncover and spread topping on the loaf during the last 20 minutes of cooking. Enjoy!
*Live-It-Up-Variation: add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes to give an extra kick!