Loafing Through the Cold

Andy Mueller

Andy Mueller-Loafing Through The Cold-Feb 2020

It's one of the most underrated comfort foods of all time, and has as many different flavor profiles as a chicken breast, yet the mere mention of it can have some noses pointed north. I'm talking about meatloaf. The quintessential "cozy" food that's as economical as it is delicious should be part of your comfort season menu at least a few times. Paired with mashed potatoes and gravy, maybe a little side of peas or corn and you have a powerhouse plate of food fit for any appetite.

Like it's cousins salmon and ham loaf, meatloaf was, and still is, a great way to fill the tank without breaking the bank. Ground beef prices can fluctuate, but even at higher than normal prices, it's still a great "per person cost" when all is said and done.

If you grew up not loving meatloaf because it was too dry or bland, fear not - a few tips and ticks will help you pull of the most amazing meatloaf you've ever had. This is also one of those dishes where the creative chef inside can come out and play because there really are no hard and fast rules that you must adhere to.

There is one tip that I always make sure to incorporate into meatloaf of any kind - It's called a panade (puh-nod). A simple step where bread, crackers or breadcrumbs are soaked in a liquid (milk, buttermilk, yogurt etc) for about ten minutes before adding to the ground meat. The basic science behind this magic mixture is the starch from the bread retains the moisture and bonds with the protein with a bit of a barrier that prevents the ground beef from squeezing the liquid out. It also helps the loaf keep its shape throughout the cooking process.

Try this recipe for your honey this Valentine's day and use all the money you saved for flowers, chocolate and wine - Enjoy!

Meatloaf

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a mixing bowl combine:

1 cup bread crumbs

1 cup milk

Stir to combine and let rest for ten minutes

In a separate large mixing bowl add:

2 pounds ground beef (80/20 or 85/15 blend)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic

1/2 cup minced onions

1/4 cup tomato juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

2 large eggs, gently whisked

All of the bread crumb/milk mixture or "Panade."

Wearing gloves or with supremely sanitized hands, gently mix the ground beef and ingredients together. Lightly spray a meatloaf pan and transfer the mixture into the pan. Let rest in fridge while making the glaze.

For the Glaze:

In a small mixing bowl add:

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon yellow mustard

Whisk ingredients until combined then pour over the top of the meatloaf to evenly coat. Place meatloaf pan on top of a baking sheet or cake pan to catch any dripa that may happen. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the center of the meatloaf reaches 160 degrees. The meatloaf will rise another 5 to 10 degrees as is rests on the counter for ten minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes and gravy and drizzle the glaze over the meatloaf - Enjoy!

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