02 November 2008

Bat Out Of Hell

Here’s the thing about meatloaf – it doesn’t need a recipe, it needs an attitude. Yeah, you need some meat, but everything else is mutable.

Start with an onion. Whack it up and toss it in a pan with some fat – olive oil, butter, bacon fat. You choose. Sweat the onion until it’s soft, maybe a little golden. Try not to burn it; you’ll just have to scrub the pan. You really object to onion? Skip it. You’ve got scallions or shallots or garlic? Sure, use ‘em.

Use whatever ground meat you like – beef, turkey, pork, veal. I like a mixture of beef and turkey. 1 ½ to 2 pounds of meat will work in a regular loaf pan. You need some starch to bulk it up – use oatmeal, bread crumbs, crushed crackers, leftover rice. I freeze the bread crusts that my diva daughter rejects – “it’s too crunchy!” – and buzz them in the blender for tossing in a meatloaf. Recycling, you know.

Now comes the fun part. Open the fridge and cast your eye upon the myriad odd jars and leftovers. Ketchup is a natural, but why not replace the ketchup with chutney? Or duck sauce from the Chinese takeout. Mustard’s good, either prepared or dry. I like a bit of sautéed chopped greens – spinach, braising mix, swiss chard. Or a handful of chopped fresh parsley. Oh, look at that! Baba ganoush! In it goes. You got an egg? Toss that in. Don’t forget some salt and pepper.

Work all the ingredients together with your fingers, fling it in a loaf pan, and bake it for a while. Yum.

The basic premise is meat + starch + flavorful wet stuff = good mixture for divine meatloaf. Be brave! How can it go wrong?



(And you thought this was going to be about Meat Loaf...)

18 comments:

Sober Briquette said...

I love meat loaf so much I could eat a whole one myself with a palette of condiments around the edge of the platter.

I never use a loaf pan - I just plop it in the middle of a roasting pan, and there can be a lot of run-off. What happens to that in a loaf pan?

Ah-so Chinese Style barbeque sauce is my (shameful) secret ingredient.

phd in yogurtry said...

Blend of turkey and beef -- a chef after my own heart. I'll have to try to be more creative, thanks for the inspiration (that baba ganoush? has me in stitches)

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

Dude! Swiss chard in meatloaf! That is brilliant.

Stimey said...

I wish I were brave enough for that. I'm strictly a recipe girl. Because, with me, it can go seriously wrong.

Irish Goddess said...

I do love the easy/lazy = creative quality of meatloaf.

Lori at Spinning Yellow said...

Meatloaf kind of gets a bad rap and I'm not talking about the Bat Out of Hell kind. My husband, the true cook in our family, gave me a basic recipe for meatloaf a while ago and then put in suggestions for improvising. This post made me hungry and made me want to start singing, "Stop, before we go any further, do you love me? Will you love me forever?..."

Melissa said...

I love playing around with my meatloaf recipe. I like to put spinach in mine. Meatloaf rocks!

Marmite Breath said...

I shouldn't like meatloaf. In theory, I do not like such things. It is called Meatloaf. Ugh.

But I harbor such love for it. A long time ago, an old man friend of mine told me about cold leftover meatloaf sandwiches and I've never been the same.

I like grated up zucchini and carrots in mine. I use bulgar for bulk. It's delish. Or, oatmeal. Lots of garlic and onions.

OMG, I should not be writing about meatloaf after midnight. It's wrong!

Kelley said...

Dammit woman! I am hungry now.

I have a heap of cake left over from the party. Would that work?

What about candy and cake 'meetloaf' as in 'come and meet your friendly dentist'...

Kyla said...

Have you made pure turkey meatloaf? I'm wondering how it turns out. Josh loves meatloaf, but beef doesn't sit well with me, so we use turkey for most things these days.

niobe said...

I am a total food wimp. Just the concept of mixing so many different things together gives me the chills. And not in a good way.

RuthWells said...

Worchester sauce, baby. And a few strips of bacon wrapped over the top as it cooks. Heaven...........

kathy a. said...

meatloaf is good. we all need comfort food for tomorrow, anyway.

niobe, meatloaf really isn't hard. more ingredients = more interesting. but in this case, you just mush 'em together instead of doing 'em all separately.

BarbaraCA said...

I make ground turkey "meat" loaf - the trick is to really flavor it because there isn't much fat. Carmelize those onions, toss in wilted spinach, add a little soy sauce, some ketchup, oregano, basil, pepper, parmesan cheese, an egg. I do low carb - don't even add crumbs.

cactus petunia said...

Mmmm. Meat loaf. Funny, we just had it for dinner on Sunday, too. And tonight my sister called me up and discussed that very same thing. Is there some kind of cosmic meat loaf mind meld happening here?

flutter said...

mmmmmmmm meatloaf. Oh sweet, delicious meatloaf

womaninawindow said...

I think we eat meat loaf every night and didn't realize it. Thanks for the (very depressing) revelation.

Library Lady said...

My mom gave me the recipe for turkey meatloaf I make in the microwave. My girls call it "Sponge Bob's Brain" because between the pink meat and the ketchup it's kind of odd looking. In fact, when I posted a picture of it on the blog I got a lot of ewwwws.
But it's delicious!