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Ode to the lowly “loaf of meat”

October 23, 2010

Meatloaf…..You either love it or hate it.  I’m a lover.  Growing up, day one of meatloaf was served fresh from the oven with mashed potatoes and corn.  Day two, the leftovers were warmed up in the frying pan and served on white bread as sandwiches.  There’s something to be said for using the frying pan instead of the microwave to warm sliced meat loaf – namely the nice little crust from the butter used in the pan.

Way back when, the grocery store had a three part meat loaf mix that combined ground beef, ground pork and ground lamb.  Today my local grocery carries a meat loaf mix that contains ground beef and ground pork so, that’s what I use. 

Glazed Meat Loaf 
3 slices of white bread (approximately)
1 large carrot, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 celery stalk, cut into 1 inch pieces
½ medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
½ cup ketchup (to some, catsup)
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 pounds meat loaf mix (if you can’t find that, use equal portions ground beef and ground pork)
2 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons salt (I used kosher salt)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Place bread slices in the bowl of a food processor with the metal blade attached, and pulse until find crumbs form.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl.  If you skip this step and use dry bread crumbs, your meatloaf will be rubbery.)
Place the carrot, celery, onion and garlic into the bowl of the food processor and process until the vegetables are minced, about 30 – 45 seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice.  Add the minced vegetables to the bread crumbs.
Add the remaining meat loaf ingredients, ketchup through ground black pepper, to the bread crumbs and vegetables.  Combine these ingredients together using your hands, just until thoroughly combined.  If you over kneed these, the meatloaf will be quite dense and not as moist.  This mixture should be slightly wet but still hold its shape when formed into a loaf.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy clean up.  Put a wire baking rack onto the baking sheet and top the baking rack with parchment paper to keep the meatloaf from falling through the rack.  Form the meat mixture into a free form loaf shape.  Spoon the prepared glaze over the top of the meatloaf and spread to cover.
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar (light or dark)
Place all three ingredients into a small bowl and mix until smooth. 
Bake the glazed meatloaf 55-60 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 160F.  Let rest on the rack about 15 minutes.  Slice and serve.

 A side note:  When researching (ok, let’s be honest, my research consisted of typing “catsup” into my google toolbar) the correct spelling – catsup or ketchup – I found that the product has a very interesting history.  ketchup v. catsup 

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