I’ve kicked off my culinary journey around the world with meatloaf. While perhaps not very exciting or original to you, for me, I might as well be eating cow tongue. I’ve never made it, and can count on one hand the number times I’ve eaten it. Not a favorite of mine as a kid, meatloaf did not have a place on our family’s menu rotation. I’m not sure what it was about this all-American comfort food that I rejected. Maybe it was the ketchup crust on top. Maybe it was the unappetizing thought of a loaf of meat. Whatever the reason, for a good part of my 31 years, it remained taboo. After decades of abstinence, my BFF, Apple Crisp, reintroduced me to this Midwestern staple, and my taste buds rejoiced. When she shared her recipe, I wasn’t surprised that it was Michael Chiarello’s twist that made me change my tune. Not wanting to mess with a good thing, I followed it step by step.
- 2 TB extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tsp (about 6 cloves) chopped garlic
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 2 red peppers, seeded, small diced
- 1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
- 2 TB chopped parsley leaves
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups grated Parmesan
- 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
- 3 pounds ground sirloin
- 2 TB Worcestershire sauce
- 2 TB balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Heat 2 TB of the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat and add the garlic. Saute 1 minute and then add the peppers and onions and saute until just soft. Let cool.
- Whisk together the basil, parsley and eggs in a small bowl, and then add the salt and black pepper. Combine the Parmesan and breadcrumbs in another small bowl. Thoroughly combine the meat, herbs and eggs, Parmesan and breadcrumbs, the Worcestershire, vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil together in a large bowl using your hands, making sure not to overmix.
- Pack the meat mixture into an oiled loaf pan, if you do not have a loaf pan, form the meat mixture into a loaf shape on an oiled oven tray or baking dish. Top with the marinara making sure to spread evenly over the top.
- Bake for approximately 50 to 60 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160F in the middle of the meatloaf. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.
- If you are trying to make this gluten-free, I used the same amount of gluten-free oats, pulsed to a chunky powder in the food processor in place of the breadcrumbs and it worked just as well.
Here’s how you SHOULD be making them.
- 1 bag frozen brussel sprouts
- salt and pepper to taste
- Parmesan cheese to taste
- Olive oil
- Blanch them. That gets the bitter taste out and gets them ready for the oven.
- Place in a shallow baking dish in a single layer. Coat with salt, pepper and olive oil and put them in a 350F oven and bake until the outer leaves get dark and crispy, usually about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.
- Toss roasted sprouts with fresh parsley and some Parmesan cheese.
- I use frozen for the convenience factor, but the same process works with fresh.
That’s it. I promise you’ll eat them like popcorn. I’ve converted two of my friends into believers.
Italian Meatloaf, Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Spinach and Goat Cheese Smashed Sweet Potatoes
I realize that I have a lot to learn when it comes to food photography, but you try making meatloaf look sexy!