Hello everyone! After a long absence from Mutt & Chops during which I was busy moving from Phoenix, AZ to Newton, KS, I come bearing meatloaf! Now there’s a conversation starter, huh? We’ll talk about why I chose meatloaf as my first recipe in a little bit. First, let’s get the whole move thing behind us.
I won’t bore you with a long-winded account of all we’ve been through, but for those who might be curious, I will give the Reader’s Digest version (yes, I date myself here as well, as I’m sure that younger readers might need to Google Reader’s Digest). Here we go:
Movers arrived to pack the Phoenix house on Dec. 6 & 7, Steve and I moved into a hotel with Jack.
Movers loaded the truck on Dec. 8.
Steve and I left in a two-car caravan (again with Jack) on Dec. 9 and made a two-day drive from Phoenix, through Albuquerque (alas, we did not see Matt as he was in Salt Lake City on business), and through Oklahoma, before arriving in Newton on the afternoon of Dec. 10.
On Dec 11, we closed on our new house.
On Dec 12, the move arrived. The truck regurgitated our lives into the new home from early morning until well after dark, leaving us in an internal sea of boxes and so exhausted we could barely stand.
On Dec. 13, Steve left for California for work, so he could save his vacation time for the holidays. He returned on the 15th, by which time, I had the entire main floor of the house unpacked, the kitchen functional, and the basement guest rooms ready. I was a woman on a mission!
By the 22nd, we had all the boxes broken down and stacked in the garage, and the basement finished as well. By the 27th we had art on the walls.
On the 30th, two of our most favorite people arrived from KC for a visit. To celebrate coming home, Steve invited a small group of family and friends for a New Year celebration, which was an amazingly fun and heartwarming time.
That’s it, in a nutshell. We are once again Kansans, and very happy to be back!
Now, let’s get to that meatloaf!
A Darn Good Meatloaf
Why meatloaf? Because it is a piece of Americana, it represents comfort, home, and tradition. It is a dish that is almost universally loved. And it is one of the meals I made in the first few weeks of being in my new home.
There are thousands of delicious meatloaf recipes out there. I’m not trying to re-invent it, or glamorize it. You won’t find truffle oil or other exotic ingredients in my meatloaf recipe. You won’t even find a cheese stuffing. Not that those ingredients or techniques don’t make a delicious meatloaf, but because I am trying to keep it simple in addition to delicious. I am going for just your basic darn good meatloaf.
What makes this meatloaf recipe just a little different is the use of caramelized onions and the simple but somewhat unique top glaze.
I learned to add caramelized onions to a Vietnamese meat filling for a puff pastry treat called pate chaud (which remains one of my most popular recipes on Mutt & Chops).
I now use this technique for a lot of ground meat mixtures because it adds such a beefy flavor. It really elevates a dish. Plus, it is a good way to get a huge umami onion taste into the meat while the texture disappears during cooking. It’s a real win for people who don’t care for the sharpness of taste or the texture of onion.
I brown the onion in butter and let it cool while I mix the meatloaf.
I then thoroughly scramble the eggs in the milk and Worcestershire Sauce because I want to add it to the ground beef first. Combined, these wet ingredients get better distributed throughout the ground meat.
Thoroughly integrate the meat and liquid ingredients by mashing down with the flat side of a spatula. It may look a bit soupy, but don’t worry.
Then add the seasoning rub, the bread crumbs, and the caramelized onions, stirring thoroughly after each addition.
Remember to microwave a small ball of meat to taste for seasoning. Add the rub a bit at a time and use the microwave to taste it until you get it just so.
Finally, mix the ketchup, fresh parsley, and brown sugar together to make the glaze.
This is the second thing that makes this meatloaf a bit different. The brown sugar gives the ketchup a deeper, more rounded level of sweetness, while the fresh parsley gives it an herby pop that cuts through the sweetness a bit. With the savory meat, it gives you that whole “Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup, sweet and salty” thing.
Press the meat into a loaf pan and top with the glaze. Then bake for about 50 minutes at 350° F.
So that you can end up with something that looks like this.
Which sliced, looks like this.
Super moist, tender, and savory. The layers of flavor in the meat are deep and SO compelling, and fully complemented by the thin, sweet-and-herby glaze. I can eat it as a meal all by itself, so I pictured it that way. But we actually had it with fresh green beans sautéed with bacon and onions.
It was a hearty meal. It was a comfort meal. And, it was a wonderful way to turn our new house into a home.
And since I have some leftovers, I am thinking I will pay Steve’s Uncle Bill a visit. I’ll come bearing meatloaf, green beans, and a fresh loaf of sourdough. Uncle Bill is crazy about my sourdough bread. Actually, Uncle Bill has never failed to do justice to anything I’ve ever cooked him. That makes him a joy to feed, let me tell you!
So, try this simple, but just darn good meatloaf. I bet you’ll love it!
A Darn Good Meatloaf
- 1 1/3 pounds ground beef 85% or leaner
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 3 teaspoons or to taste, seasoning rub of choice (I used a fine-grind rotisserie rub)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup sweet onions chopped small
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped small
- 2 heaping teaspoons brown sugar
- Salt optional to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Cook the onion in the butter over medium heat until evenly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Crumble the ground beef into a large bowl for easier mixing.
- In a measuring cup, measure the milk, then add the eggs and the Worcestershire Sauce and scramble thoroughly. Add to the ground meat and press and stir until completely integrated.
- Add the bread crumbs and caramelized onions and stir until evenly distributed. Then add half of the seasoning rub and stir.
- Remove a small ball of meat and gently microwave to taste for seasoning. Adjust accordingly by adding more rub and/or salt as needed.
- Press the raw meatloaf into a loaf pan.
- Mix the ketchup, parsley and brown sugar and spread over the meatloaf.
- Place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 160° F.
- Remove and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Slice and serve with your sides of choice.