Something the other day must have got me thinking about meatloaf. Perhaps it was this delectable looking example over at the Food Pornographer? I think it was also mainly this one recipe for an upside-down meatloaf I’d bookmarked a while ago in one of my Saveur magazines and the idea had been sitting, festering at the back of my mind. Whatever it was, I felt the need to make one and I couldn’t wait till the weekend.

Meatloaf isn’t popular in the UK (they don’t know the delights of cold meatloaf sandwiches!) but this is typical comfort food in North America, where every family has their own recipe. It’s easy to put together and doesn’t need any watching while it’s in the oven. Somehow the idea of meatloaf being comforting transferred to me even though I hardly ever ate it at home.

Meatloaf

Of course, stupidly, I decided to make one when I was again by myself in the flat. Not to worry, half of it was left to cool and then immediately wrapped up and stashed in the freezer; meatloaf freezes well. Whatever I didn’t consume from the other half was refrigerated, ready to be sliced and sandwiched between thick slices of white bread, with extra ketchup! On the day itself, I also made this corn casserole from The Pioneer Woman Cooks to eat with my fresh meatloaf. Ooh, creamy, corny goodness.

Meatloaf Slice

Meatloaf
serves a lot, maybe 6 or so.

the loaf
500g beef mince
250g pork mince
2/3 cup cracker crumbs (I’m posh, so I used Ritz crackers. Haha!)
2 eggs
1 small carrot, grated
1 stick celery, grated
1 small onion, grated
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsps ketchup
2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp prepared mustard
salt and black pepper

the toppings
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 slices American streaky bacon (I use Oscar Meyer which is easily found in most UK supermarkets)

Preheat your oven to 180 Celsius.

Mix all the meatloaf ingredients together with your hands but don’t overmix; you want a meatloaf, not a meatbrick. Place it into a 9″x5″ loaf pan – but you can also shape it into a loaf on a sheet pan. My loaf pan comes with a rack insert that allows for extra fat to drip out of the meatloaf – do find this if you can…there was a lot of stuff that came out of my meatloaf.

Mix together the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar for the topping and spread over the loaf. Cut each slice of bacon in half and drape over the loaf. If you’ve got a freeform meatloaf (i.e. not in a tin) you can increase the glaze and bacon amounts to cover the sides and then it will taste even better! Bake for 1 hour.

I found my meatloaf to be tasty and very moist and the glaze and bacon crust that forms on top is divine! If I had to do anything again, I’d increase the amount of ketchup, mustard and Worcestershire sauce slightly in the loaf and reduce the amount of milk to keep the same liquid level overall. An interesting idea would be to embed hard boiled eggs in the middle of the loaf, like the Food Pornographer did. Other variations I’ve seen include either mixing in sausage meat or embedding whole sausages in the middle, making a Swiss roll like meatloaf with ham and cheese slices rolled up inside, or topping the meatloaf with a mushroom sauce. The cracker crumbs can also be replaced with breadcrumbs – but heck, sometimes I don’t even have any bread in the flat for days on end.

Meatloaf Sandwich

Oh yes, and here’s that sandwich a couple days later! Meatloaf is one of those dishes that improves with a little time in the fridge and this sandwich was mighty good! There’s still another slice in the fridge which will be panfried and served with garlic, scallion and coriander rice and a salad. Yummy!