Inspired by a post I found on Cripes Suzette through my friend Brian’s web site, meatloaf was on tonight’s menu. I didn’t follow a recipe, exactly, but I’ve accumulated enough experience over the years to risk winging it. When it comes to meatloaf I usually stick to the basics. Sometimes I’ll sauté some onion, let it cool, and add it to the mix, or add chili powder, but not tonight:
Tony’s Classic Meatloaf*
3-1/2 pounds meatloaf mix (ground beef, pork, and veal)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika (smoked is nice, but be careful not to make it too smoky)
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 large eggs
2/3 cup chicken stock (or beef, if you prefer)
2/3 cup dry bread crumbs
Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Beat eggs in small bowl, add stock and bread crumbs. Combine well and set aside.
Place meatloaf mix in large mixing bowl. Break meat up quickly with fingers or fork, but be careful not to handle it too much or mash it or your meatloaf could be tough.
Sprinkle seasonings over meat, add egg, stock, and bread crumb mixture.
Blend thoroughly but don’t overwork it.
Put meatloaf into non-stick 9-inch loaf pan, being careful not to leave any voids and evening it out, but don’t pack it too firmly. The meatloaf mixture should be just a little higher than the top of the pan.
Put loaf pan in the oven with aluminum foil or sheet pan underneath to catch drippings.
Bake about 1-1/2 hours or until meat thermometer reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove from oven, let rest 5-10 minutes before slicing.
There are countless variations, of course, and I can honestly say my meatloaf is never exactly the same twice (much to my wife’s general frustration), but it’s almost always good. For such a humble comfort food, it’s a nice treat, especially on a cold Thursday night.
*Corrected. The recipe originally said five pounds and a 10-inch loaf pan, the trouble with writing off the top of my head when I really should be asleep. This recipe served five generously for one meal and a good half for leftovers, sandwiches, etc.