But the real reason for this post is to share with you the Best Meatloaf Ever, which I made last night. It was all we could talk about all evening. It took me a while to put it all together, but it was so worth it. The original recipe is here, taken from Cook's Illustrated. Here's what I did:
1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb regular ground beef
1 stalk celery, chopped fine
1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
+ butter for browning, about 1 T
Filler & Liquid:
1/3 cup dry soy vegetable protein (instead of bread/oatmeal/crackers, since we're low-carb)
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 T tomato sauce (approx) + a little water
a few splashes of Merlot, since it was open
2 large eggs
3 oz Monterey Jack cheese, grated finely -- use the smallest shredder you have
1 T soy sauce
1 T Worcester sauce
1 T Dijon mustard (well, I just squeezed a bunch in)
1 T oregano, dry leaf (approx)
1 T basil, dry leaf (approx)
1/4 t thyme, ground
1 t paprika
1 t salt (original called for 3/4 t but I like salt)
1/2 t pepper
1/2 cup tomato sauce (approx - I had a small tin and I just used what was left after using a few T in the vegetables)
scant 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (probably use less and then taste)
1/4 t ground coriander (actually, I can't remember if I put this in or not)
hot sauce or cayenne pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 F. Make a meatloaf-baking contraption by putting a wire rack over a baking sheet or pan (I used a lasagne pan -- make sure there's at least a lip on the sheet), covering the rack with thick or doubled foil, and poking some holes in the foil so the loaf can drain. I wish I'd put some foil in the bottom of the pan too. Spray it with non-stick spray or some such.
Heat butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, then cook the onions and celery until they start to brown. Add the garlic and stir, stir, stir for a minute. If you use fresh herbs instead of dried, add them with the garlic. (Also, I just noticed that this is where the paprika is supposed to go. I just put it in the mixture later.) Reduce heat to low. Add the tomato sauce and a bit of water (the original recipe called for tomato juice) plus a splash of red wine if you have some open and cook for a minute or so. You might want to cool this for a minute.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, broth, and flavouring. Add the soy vegetable protein or your usual filler (the original recipe used 2/3 cup crushed saltines), cheese, and cooked vegetables. Mix it all up, then add the meat. I mix the meat with my hands, but you might want to use a spatula. Try not to mix it more than necessary to blend the ingredients.
Form a loaf, about 2 inches high, on the foil-covered rack, and stick it in the oven. After about 20 minutes, put on the glaze. The loaf should bake for around 55-65 minutes. It took me more like 75, but I think my oven is slow. A meat thermometer should show 160F before you take it out. Let it rest 10-20 minutes before slicing.
Eat with mashed cauliflower or mashed potatoes, depending on your carb status. Also, wine is good. :)
We divided the leftovers equally into two containers, to be fair. I just had another slice for breakfast. Mmm.