Meatloaf in Paradise
Meatloaf is certainly an American classic and this recipe is my version of paradise by the range top light. Of course, you can’t have meatloaf without some good ground beef, but I like to bring a little extra flavor and juiciness to the party with some veggies hidden in the mix. You can try just about any vegetables, but this is the mix that I find works best. When this is on the menu, my family always looks forward to dinner, as well as any leftovers for lunch the next day (it makes a great sandwich). If you want to go for the classic menu, pair this with some mashed potatoes…or cut back those carbs and go for some roasted veggies.
This post has been a long time coming. Way back when I started this blog, my son helped me make a meatloaf and, since I was just getting started, I hadn’t taken pictures or written down the recipe. I remember writing that I would have to make this a future post, but never got back around to it. Well, lately I have been asked to share a meatloaf recipe and that got me back on track.
Get out that food processor as the first step in this recipe, but don’t puree those veggies. You want to run them through enough that they are thoroughly chopped, but you don’t want to liquefy them. Depending on how much texture you want to have in your meatloaf, you can even leave them in some bigger chunks. Add that into the ground beef and work it in with your hands. Try not to completely squeeze the beef, just work it in gently until it is completely combined. Depending on what you have available, or how many you are feeding for dinner, you can vary the beef between 2-3 pounds. I like this with a little more beef, but you don’t need to change much else if you add more meat. Two pounds will easily feed a family of four and three pounds will leave you some leftovers (which is a good thing). Depending on your veggies and the amount of meat, you may need to change the amount of breadcrumbs. You want this to remain moist, so just add enough that helps everything hold together but don’t get it too dry.
I did not include a time for cooking this as you definitely want to rely on the temperature to make sure it is cooked all the way through. However, I should tell you that this always seems to take longer to cook than I expect, so make sure you start early. Then when you take it out of the oven, make sure to let it rest for at least about 10 minutes so the juices redistribute through the meat. If you cut into it right away, all the juiciness will run right out and will tend to dry out the meatloaf.
This meatloaf is so tasty that your family will run to the table like a bat out of hell. I am sure they will love this, and everyone will eat the mashed potatoes, but they will still complain about finishing their veggies. I guess two out of three ain’t bad. OK OK, that is enough of that nonsense. But how can I have a post about meatloaf and not make any references to Meatloaf? Besides, that entire album has been stuck in my head all week as I have been thinking about writing this post. Even if you are not singing along with me, give this recipe a try. I am sure you will have a number one hit with your family anyway.
- 2-3 pounds ground beef
- 1/2 red onion
- 2 carrots
- 1/2 red pepper
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 egg
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs +/-
- Salt & pepper
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- Hot sauce to taste (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the ground beef in a large bowl. Combine the onion, carrots, pepper, and garlic in your food processor and take it for a spin. Just pulse the blades a few times so the veggies are ground up but not pureed, a few chunks are OK. Add the veggies to the ground beef along with the egg, bread crumbs, and salt & pepper. Mix thoroughly with your hands and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Shape it into a loaf shape (something like a slightly deflated football). Insert a remote probe thermometer into the middle of the loaf and bake for just 10 minutes.
Combine the ketchup, brown sugar, cumin, and chili powder in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add some hot sauce a little at a time until you get the level of heat you like. If you are not a fan of hot sauce, you can leave this out entirely. Pour the sauce over the top of the meatloaf and use a brush to spread it evenly; then it’s back into the oven. Bake until your thermometer says it is 155 degrees, then take it out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting into it.