I’ve always loved meatloaf – almost any kind – even that grey diner variety can pique my interest. It isn’t a family favorite so I don’t make it as often as I would like and when I do I have to doctor it up a bit to bring everyone to table. This can mean that I look in the fridge to see what needs to be used yesterday and add it to the mix. The other day that meant a container of cherry tomatoes and a sack of button mushrooms. However, the thing about meatloaf is that it can be almost anything you want it to be so I will give you my mom’s old fashioned recipe – the one that I grew up on. But, you can use beef, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb or any combination thereof to create an easy pop in the oven dinner – I always serve mine with baked potatoes and salad so dinner comes to the table 1-2-3.
1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
½ pound ground pork
1 medium onion, minced
½ cup diced canned tomatoes (my mom used those she had canned)
1 teaspoon chopped parsley (mom used dried)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup fine breadcrumbs
1 large egg
¼ cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Combine the beef and pork in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the onion, tomatoes, parsley, and Worcestershire. Add the breadcrumbs along with the egg, milk, and salt and pepper, and, using your hands, squish to thoroughly combine.
Form the mix into a firm loaf about 4-inches wide by 8-inches long. When forming it into a loaf, you can also place 3 hard boiled eggs down the interior center.
Now, here’s where you can make some changes. You can:
Cover the top with strips of bacon.
Make a sauce that can serve as gravy by combining 1½ cups tomato puree with ½ cup beef broth (or stock if you have it) and ¼ cup minced onion OR 1½ cups beef broth with 2 tablespoons tomato paste, ½ cup chopped mushrooms, and 2 tablespoons minced onion.
Now, mind you, these are mom’s 1940s instructions – you can do whatever you want to fancy it all up. When I want mom, I mix some broth with catsup and add whatever is on hand to spice it up a bit. This is old-fashioned home-cooking after all!
Place it in the oven and bake for about 1 hour or until nicely browned and cooked through and, if you’ve made it, a slightly thickened tomatoey gravy has formed.