Wednesday, November 5, 2008
My mother was a wonderful cook, as was her mother before her. No one could touch her beef soup, her Sunday "gravy," her meatballs, her macaroni and potato salad, her cream puffs--to name a few of my favorites. On the other hand, she made some dishes that I wouldn't eat, both as a child and as an adult. Meatloaf was one of those. What made her meatloaf so anathema to me? She put hard boiled eggs down the middle of the loaf so that there was one framed in each slice. Now, this may have looked pretty, but it totally grossed me out. She also topped her meatloaf with "red sauce." Instead of just taking the egg out of my slice and scrapping off the sauce, I steadfastly refused to eat this dish. Many a war was waged over meatloaf. About the only other dish she made that was sure to make me produce gagging noises was her oven-baked pork chops topped with spinach and red sauce. On one memorable dinner, the noises I made were so awful, she insisted I sit at the table until I had finished every bite. I could no more force one bite of that dish down my throat than I could fly, so I bided my time and when her back was turned, I fled the kitchen and locked myself in my room. That was probably one of my most defiant moments. But...back to the meatloaf.
I eschewed meatloaf most of my life, but at some point realized that it had all the earmarks of a dish I could appreciate, minus, of course, the hard-boiled eggs and red sauce. After many years of experimentation, this is my favorite version of meatloaf. It serves 6-8; or, two people can have 2 lavish dinners with lots leftover for sandwiches (preferably on potato rolls). It also freezes well, sliced or unsliced.
You can either wrap the loaf in bacon slices or double the glaze and leave out the bacon.
Brown sugar-ketchup glaze
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbs dark brown sugar
2 tsp cider vinegar
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large eggs
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup plain yogurt (you can use milk, in a pinch)
2 lbs meat loaf mix (50% ground chuck, 25% ground pork, 25% ground veal)
2/3 cup crushed saltine crackers
Optional: 8-9 slices thin bacon
GLAZE: mix all ingredients in a small bowl; set aside
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat oil in medium skillet; add onion and garlic and saute 5 minutes.
Mix eggs with thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, Worcestershire, and yogurt.
Add egg mixture to meat in a large bowl, along with crackers and cooked onion/garlic.
Mix well until mixture doesn't stick to bowl.
Shape mixture into a loaf about 9X5 inches.
Cover a wire rack with foil; prick foil with a fork.
Place rack on a shallow roasting pan lined with foil for easy clean-up.
Set formed loaf on rack.
Brush all over with all the glaze (if using bacon).
Arrange bacon slices CROSSWISE (I wasn't paying attention; my picture is the opposite of what you want) over loaf and tuck in ends.
Bake loaf 1 hour. Cool for 20 minutes before slicing.