Sunday, March 16, 2014

Tricks and Tips to Meatloaf

Meatloaf has been around for centuries in various forms, recipes and methods in various countries. The "contemporary" American Meatloaf didn't start appearing in cookbooks until the late 19th century. And it seems that every family has a some Great Aunt Pearl's meatloaf recipe card passed down from generation to generation.

Me? I've never really been a fan of meatloaf. Don't ask me why... I'm a fan of meatballs, sausage, even ground meat in my spaghetti sauce and in tacos. But growing up there was something just unappealing about meatloaf.

Over the years though, and because I love my family and their affection for this lump of ground meat, I've started practicing and figuring out how I can enjoy "meatloaf night". Here are a few things I've learned over the years:

Adding vegetables to your loaf? Make sure to saute them a little first. This will make for tender vegetables which often need to cook longer than ground meat. Pictured Above: Garlic, Onions and Celery

This is a trick I learned from my Grandmother's meatballs but works for meatloaf too. Mix your egg, milk and breadcrumbs separately before adding the mixture to the meat. Getting the gluten in the bread moist first will help make more tender meatloaf (or meatballs).

Everyone has a family "glaze" recipe I'm sure. But try using fewer ingredients that still cover the sweet, salty, and acidic spectrum...add some both to the meat mixture as well as glazed on top of the loaf.

Bacon. Everything is better with bacon. And in this case you want a bacon that is NOT lean. The fattier the bacon, the more drippings will soak into your ground meat and again add to the tenderness. Don't forget that fat is flavor.

In the end these combinations of tricks and tips make for a meatloaf that is more giant tender meatball and less a meat flavored foot ball. Even I took some for lunch the next day!


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