Meatloaf is a traditional dish made primarily from ground meat, breadcrumbs, and various seasonings, with origins dating back to the Roman Empire. Over the centuries, it has evolved into a comfort food staple in American cuisine. Meatloaf is known for its flexibility, as the dish can be prepared with various types of meat (beef, pork, or turkey), vegetables, and seasonings to suit individual tastes.
Here is a classic meatloaf recipe that yields approximately 6 servings:
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beef (you can also use a mix of ground beef, pork, and veal for added flavor)
- 1 cup breadcrumbs (regular or Italian-style)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup bell pepper, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup ketchup, plus more for glazing
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, for a spicier version)
For the glaze:
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease a loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and milk. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes, so the breadcrumbs absorb the milk and become soft.
- Add the ground beef, onion, bell pepper (if using), garlic, eggs, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, thyme, oregano, salt, black pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper (if using) to the breadcrumb mixture. Mix until all the ingredients are well combined. Be careful not to overmix, as this can make the meatloaf tough.
- Transfer the meat mixture to the prepared baking sheet or loaf pan. If using a baking sheet, shape the mixture into a loaf with your hands.
- In a small bowl, mix together the glaze ingredients: ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Spoon half of the glaze evenly over the top of the meatloaf.
- Bake the meatloaf in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove it from the oven and spoon the remaining glaze over the top. Continue to bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C) when measured with a meat thermometer.
- Remove the meatloaf from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. This will help it retain its shape and moisture.
Meatloaf can be customized in various ways to suit individual preferences. Here are some ideas:
- Substitute ground turkey or chicken for a leaner option.
- Add grated carrots or zucchini to the mixture for extra moisture and nutrition.
- Replace the breadcrumbs with rolled oats or crushed crackers for a different texture.
- Experiment with different spices and herbs to create unique flavor profiles.
- Add bacon strips on top of the meatloaf before baking for a smoky flavor.
- Incorporate cheese into the meat mixture