Meat Loaf


Rule #1: Mess around with people’s childhood favorites at your own risk. No matter how wonderful and elegant you think it is, they’ll just wish it was like Mom used to make.

I rarely follow recipes and I hate using canned or prepackaged ingredients. As a result, it’s hard to easily duplicate certain flavors. The results can be “too sweet” or “too crumbly”, etc.

So, it was with all in the back of my mind (and front and center since Kim was right next too me warning me all the way…) that I decided to take the plunge and risk the abuse one more time.

We are getting more tomatoes than I can easily use from our farm share. I needed to do something with them before they went bad. This is a great way to use up a few and eliminate can #1, tomato sauce.

The rest is basic, basic ingredients. This is a wonderful, hearty meal. It is the ideal comfort food. And wonder of wonders it went over perfectly. I nailed the flavors spot on. The important thing here was to salt everything as I went. There is a lot of natural sweetness in all of the ingredients, this needed to be balanced out. The last trick was to use a lot of eggs. You really want the loaf to hold together well. The egg is the binder.

This was a hit. Remember mash potatoes make the meal. Don’t serve meatloaf without them.

6 plum tomatoes (or 2 cups of chopped tomatoes)
1 tsp olive oil
2 cups diced onion
1 cup diced carrot
1 diced Hungarian wax pepper (or other pepper)
1 clove of minced garlic
1/4 chopped parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
1.75 lbs ground beef
1 cup rolled “instant” oats
about 1/4 cup ketchup
salt and pepper to taste

Serves 6-8

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Peel the tomatoes. This time I scorched them over the gas burners. You can also blanch them and dip in ice water. Either works.

2. Quarter tomatoes place in a pan with a little olive oil. Heat over medium heat until reduced to a sauce, stirring occasionally (about 15 minutes). Salt to taste. Set aside too cool.

3. Cut up vegetables.

4. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat until smoking. Add onion and carrots. Stir frequently. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, peppers, and parsley and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and place in a large bowl to cool.

5. Mix tomatoes into onion vegetable mixture. Salt and pepper to taste.

6. Fold meat, oats, eggs, salt and pepper into vegetable sauce until well mixed.

7. Place meat mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with foil (to ease cleaning). Form mixture into a loaf about 2 inches thick. Cover generously with ketchup.

8. Place loaf in the oven and roast for about 45 minutes until temperature of the meat reaches about 150F.

9. Turn on the broiler and broil the meat loaf until well browned, about 5 minutes.

10. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Slice into thick slices and serve.

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