We’re going old school with this post–takin’ it back to that longtime comfort food, meatloaf. There are usually two camps when it comes to loaves of meat–those who love it and those who hate it. My husband happens to fall into the LOVE category. His passion for meatloaf is one I have never before witnessed. If meatloaf happens to be on a menu, it cries out to him with its sweet, Siren’s song. No matter how enticing the rest of the menu may be, he will order the meatloaf in a heartbeat.
It was with this love in mind (and my husband’s birthday dinner) that I crafted a new meatloaf recipe. I wanted to make the ultimate meatloaf–juicy and flavorful with a few interesting tweaks. I researched and plotted and planned. There are a lot of bad meatloaf recipes out there. You know the ones–dense, dry, and flavorless. I’m hoping that with this one, all of those meatloaf woes will be solved (and maybe, just maybe some haters will turn into lovers). I think so. Hopefully you will too!
One of the keys to meatloaf is to get your hands dirty and don’t over mix:
It’s fun, it’s squishy and kind of gross! Notice that I straight up pulled a Paula Deen and forgot to take my rings off. I often do…That just means they get a good polish after I finish cooking! If you must, go ahead and mix with your favorite spoon or spatula.
The recipe for the sauce makes about double what you need for this recipe but it’s great on steaks and burgers. I’ve also frozen the sauce for future meatloaf cravings. If you want to make the meatloaf without the sauce (although I highly recommend you try it with), you can smear equal parts ketchup and mustard over the top of the uncooked loaves and sprinkle with brown sugar. We’ve even made smaller, slider sized loaves and served them on brioche buns, topped with slaw. This is great for parties–especially football-releated gatherings! Just reduce your cooking time by about half if you decide to do this.
For the sauce:
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of black vinegar (You can find this at the Asian market. If you can’t find it, double the balsamic)
1/2 cup of malt syrup or molasses (I prefer the malt syrup. I found it at Whole Foods.)
1/2 cup of yellow mustard
1 1/2 cups of ketchup
2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire
1 Tablespoon of tamarind paste (You can find this at the Asian market)
1/2 cup of diced red onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup of prunes, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon of sambal oelek, sriracha, or red pepper flakes
1 chipotle in adobo, chopped
1 teaspoon of Herbes de Provence
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Mix everything together in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, puree with an immersion blender, or carefully puree in a blender or food processor. Stir in baking soda.
For the meatloaf:
3 slices of thick bacon, finely diced
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
6 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 stalk of celery, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cup of garlic croutons
1 cup of milk
a handful of parsley
1 Tablespoon of horseradish
1/2 cup sauce recipe (above)
1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 pound of ground beef
1 pound of country sausage
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
pinch of pepper
Preheat oven to 375. Place onion, garlic, celery, and carrot in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Reserve. Saute bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until it just begins to brown. Add chopped vegetables and cook, stirring regularly for 10 minutes. If they start to brown too quickly, reduce heat to medium-low. Remove vegetable/bacon mixture from heat and cool. Grab a handful of parsley and chop in food processor. Add to a large bowl (you will later mix your meatloaf in the bowl). Place croutons in the food processor and process until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add to the bowl with the parsley. Pour the milk over the crouton crumbs, allowing the milk to soak into the crumbs. Add all remaining ingredients except for the ground pork and beef. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Add ground meat and mix until ingredients are evenly dispersed. Do not over mix.
Divide the meat mixture in two and shape into two loaves on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spread 1/3 to 1/2 cup of sauce over loaves (depending on how saucy you like it). Bake for 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches 155-160 degrees. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.