Thursday, February 24, 2011

Redemption in a meatloaf

Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
I used to be a fan of meatloaf, digging in to my Mom's ketchup-covered meatloaf regularly, but somewhere in the years between wearing tri-color Keds to my current, comfy Clark's, I got lost. My husband can tell you flat-out that the worst meal I ever served was a meatloaf. I remember it well, remember clipping the recipe out of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (what a quaint notion - clipping recipes from newspapers!). The recipe was for a Turkey Meatloaf with Spinach. I liked turkey, ditto for the spinach, and as a new bride, wanted to go all June Cleaver and make a meatloaf.  The recipe called for egg whites, and that the resulting loaf was spongy and flavorless. To add insult to injury, I thought I'd recycle it the next night, chopped up in tomato sauce. I will only say that I learned my lesson: you can't fix bad meatloaf.

I may have tried other meatloaves through the years, but honestly, they weren't very memorable and I'd just about given up until I received a copy of Susan Russo's cute little cookbook "Recipes Every Guy Should Know" (Quirk Books, 2010). Russo has a beautiful blog, Food Blogga, and has packed her book (co-authored with Brett Cohen) full of family-friendly recipes designed to get guys in the kitchen.

In the midst of guy-friendly recipes like Foolproof French Toast and Baja-Style Fish Tacos, I spied the recipe for Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf and decided that it was time to live that turkey meatloaf down and prove to my husband and kids that I could turn out a tasty dish. This meatloaf is yummy and has a great texture - not dry in the least, and very flavorful, especially with the added bacon and ketchup.

When I mentioned this meatloaf on Facebook, many friends chimed in with their favorite meatloaf recipes (if only I'd asked them for recipes before trying the turkey and spinach sponge.) Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite meatloaf recipe and what your secret ingredients are!

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 small yellow onion, diced

2 pounds ground beef (85% lean is best)

¾ cup plain bread crumbs

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons spicy mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Several dashes hot sauce

6 tablespoons ketchup, divided

8 to 10 slices bacon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté 3 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned; let cool slightly.

2. In a large bowl, combine sautéed onions with all ingredients from ground beef through hot sauce, plus 2 tablespoons ketchup. Using your hands, mix until thoroughly combined. Transfer beef mixture onto a large baking sheet lightly greased with canola oil or cooking spray. Shape into an oval mound and lay bacon slices over the top so that they crisscross. Wash your hands, then brush remaining 4 tablespoons ketchup over bacon and meatloaf.

3. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until browned on top and cooked through. (A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meatloaf should read 160 to 165. degrees Fahrenheit If you don’t have a thermometer, insert a knife into the thickest part to ensure meat is no longer pink.)

(Recipe excerpted from "Recipes Every Man Should Know" by Susan Russo and Brett Cohen, Quirk Books, 2010.)

The generous folks at Quirk Books have offered a second copy of "Recipes Every Man Should Know" for a lucky reader. It's a great little cookbook, filled with family-pleasing recipes. Just leave a comment below before midnight on March 8 and I will select a winner at random and get you your book! You may enter both on this post and also the chili and guacamole post to win a copy of the book.


Julie Quinn said...

Glad to hear YOU can mess up food! Hard to believe. My parents make a yummy bacon wrapped meatloaf on the grill. My girls won't eat ground beef, so no meatloafs in my immediate future.

Lucy said...

Thanks for visiting, Julie! Oh, there are a few other kitchen disaster tales to tell in future posts!

Anonymous said...

YUM! This is Meatloaf Paradise - I can't wait to dazzle my family with this on the weekend. The photo is simply mouthwatering and so well-balanced and healthy! Bravo Lucy!! Keep them coming! All the best, Andra Paddio (o:

Lana @ Never Enough Thyme said...

Great idea wrapping the meatloaf with bacon! Great flavor from the bacon and keeps the loaf moist as well. I've got to get a copy of that cookbook for my guy :-)

Maggie Hewes Adams said...

Yup, I have tried meatloaf a few times (forever searching for the right recipe) and failed every time. I would thing this would be a winner, but I have a thing about bacon and beef; I love them both, but I don't like them together. So the search continues . . .

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Yeah, turkey, spinach, and egg whites just doesn't make a MEAT loaf, does it? Thanks for sharing your disaster loaf with us. We've all been there ourselves. ;O

Thanks again for promoting my book, Lucy!

Becky said...

I can see how egg whites could ruin a meatloaf. Normally I make Ina Garten's Turkey Meatloaf, but I will give this recipe a try with turkey. Thanks for sharing..


Kim said...

I made two meatloaves from the latest Fine Cooking magazine (pictures and some more information here). I served them one night for dinner and then froze the rest for my husband. He loves meatloaf sandwiches.

bbqchick said...

I also loved meatloatloaf growing up but when I married my husband he refused to eat it. I found out his mother was a bad cook and she always overcooked everything to a grey color. She ruined him from eating certain foods. Anyways, after 20 years in a meat loaf free zone I made this recipe and he and my two children loved it! Bacon is the key, thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

Cant wait to try this recipe , I love meatloaf , use some of these ingredients but will be adding the hotter flavored ones to my next meatloaf.

Unknown said...

I love meatloaf and can't wait to try this new recipe , it has some ingredients I would not have normally chosen. Thanks for sharing your wins and loss's. Love the witty comments, Happy Weekend.

Judy said...

This sounds SO good; always enjoy good meatloaf!

Judy said...

This sounds so good; I always enjoy GOOD meatloaf!