Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Meatloaf Wars

When Richie and I were first married, from time to time he would crave comfort food and make his mother's recipe meatloaf. In the first blush of newlywed happiness, I ate it. But as the years passed, I began to loathe it more and more. It was: hamburger, egg, bread crumbs and topped with tomato sauce, straight out of the can. It was salty and bitter which is hard to achieve.

I began to rebel and Richie, to his credit, tried to improve the recipe (and shut me up.) He added chopped onion and garlic; he topped it off with Tiger sauce or salsa -- anything but tomato sauce.

I still didn't like it. I don't know if he overworked the meat (it was tough) or didn't add enough liquid; all I knew was that I hated it. And I didn't suffer in silence either, you may be very sure of that.

Yesterday, he brandished the January '09 issue of Bon Appetite and said, "I'm making meatloaf tonight."

It turned out better than any previous attempt. Because I'd never heard of mixing chopped bacon and bread crumbs with the hamburger, here's the recipe:

1 large onion, coarsely diced
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/4 lbs. ground beef 10% fat (we eat 20% because 10% is tougher than a banker's heart)
1/2 cup ketchup, divided (he used salsa; we don't have ketchup, neither of us eats it)
2 large eggs
1 teas. black pepper
3 slices thick-cut (raw) bacon; 2 cups coarsely chopped,1 slice halved lengthwise for garnish
4 slices white sandwich bread, torn into pieces (he used two)
3 T chopped parsley (omitted)

Oven 400 - check.
Blend the onion and garlic in a food processor (save energy, use a chef's knife instead) transfer to a big bowl and add the beef, 1/4 cup ketchup, eggs and pepper.

Put the bacon and bread in the food processor and pulse until the bread is chopped (get some exercise, use your chef's knife.) Add this to the beef, add the parsley and stir well.

Put all of the above in a meatloaf pan, arrange the bacon slices down the top of the meatloaf, spoon the rest of the ketchup between the bacon slices and bake for one hour. Let it rest 10 to 15 minutes and serve.

No comments: