I meal plan on Fridays. And every Thursday or Friday, I ask Tom what to add to the menu. And almost every Friday, I plan the whole menu by myself, anyway, because he has no suggestions.
A couple weeks ago, though, Tom did have a suggestion (a couple, in fact) and the first thing on the list? Meatloaf. I’m pretty sure I can say that I’ve never had, like, actual, real-deal meatloaf (let alone made one). I’ve made mini meatloaves once or twice, but I flavored them with Italian seasonings, stuffed them with cheese, and topped them with pasta sauce instead of ketchup – so, really, what I made were meatballs in a muffin tin.
If I had to make a list of unappealing foods, meatloaf would be pretty close to the top. It’s just, you know, shaped meat. Except unlike good shaped meats like meatballs and burgers, there’s really no sauce (or pasta!) or cheese and so, what’s the point? But, because I am the most awesome wife ever, I forged ahead and made my very first meatloaf. I felt very American, indeed.
This recipe comes from Cook’s Illustrated so it should be no surprise that it’s sort of weird. You grate and freeze Monterey Jack cheese. You use gelatin. There is coriander involved.
I figured I would tolerate this meal, but in actuality I really, really liked it. The meatloaf stays incredibly moist, so it’s really not the brick of beef I’d imagined in my head. The glaze is great. It’s very similar to a barbecue sauce, without molasses. The use of coriander is really interesting and I liked it (though I will admit to not being the world’s biggest coriander fan, so I used a little less than the recipe called for). And I’m pretty sure the leftovers were even better. Zachary ate two slices on his own, and kept trying to take some off Tom’s plate at lunch the next day. So, I’d say this recipe is definitely (and somewhat surprisingly) family-approved.
All Beef Meatloaf
3 oz. Monterey Jack cheese
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 celery rib, finely chopped (I omitted this since we didn’t have any)
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2/3 cup crushed saltines
1.5 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 lb. ground chuck
1 lb. ground sirloin
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
Heat oven to 375. Spread the cheese on plate and then place in freezer until ready to use. Prepare baking sheet–wrap a broiler pan or a cookie cooling rack with two layers of foil and punch holes in it so fat can drain. Place the pan/rack in rimmed baking sheet (line that one with foil for easy cleanup, if desired) to catch drips.
Heat the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, add onion and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown. Add the garlic and paprika and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to small bowl and set aside to cool.
Whisk the broth and eggs together in a large bowl until combined. Sprinkle gelatin over liquid and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce, mustard, saltines, parsley, salt, pepper, and onion mixture. Crumble the frozen cheese into a coarse powder and sprinkle it over mixture. Add the ground chuck and sirloin; mix gently with hands until thoroughly combined, about a minute. Transfer the meat to the prepared baking rack; shape into 10×6″ loaf about 2″ high. Bake 55-65 minutes. Remove the meatloaf from oven and turn on the broiler.
While the meatloaf cooks, combine all ingredients for the glaze in small saucepan; bring to simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring, until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Spread half of glaze evenly over the cooked meatloaf using a rubber spatula. Place under broiler and cook until glaze bubbles and begins to brown at edges, about 3-5 minutes. Remove the meatloaf from the oven, spread evenly with remaining glaze, and place back under broiler and cook until glaze is again bubbling and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes more. Let meat loaf cool about 20 minutes before slicing.
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