just meatloaf

this post is a long time coming.

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not because i don’t like meatloaf, because i absolutely love meatloaf. not because i don’t make it often, because my husband loves it and it’s often our “we only have dinner together once a week so let’s make it special by eating something fattening” meal. not even because it’s not the most photogenic dish in the world.

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(it’s really not.)

to be completely honest, i just haven’t known what to say about this dish. my mother never made it. i didn’t grow up eating it. it wasn’t one of those dishes i always wanted to be good at preparing, like tomato sauce or souffle or coq au vin. it wasn’t even a dish that i frequently ordered in restaurants. i’ve wanted to write this post for months (months!) but simply haven’t known how to write about meatloaf.

but these days, boston is a bit of a bummer. there’s obscene amounts of snow everywhere, the roads are crazy, everyone in the state is cranky, and just doing everyday tasks is exhausting and frustrating.

i opened my door saturday morning, and this is what i found...

i opened my door saturday morning, and this is what i found…

meatloaf always seemed to me like a kitchen sink sort of dish, something you made when you didn’t know what else to do and wanted to get rid of leftover veggies. not that those kinds of dishes are bad – they’ve saved me on more than one occasion – but it didn’t seem like a dish that one would master the art of, a dish that one painstakingly prepared.

dear readers, i was wrong. meatloaf may not be complicated to make. it may not be incredibly sophisticated or win you points with “high food” people. it’s probably not the dish to win over your pickier family members or friends. and honestly, it has kind of an icky-sounding name. but it is so, so good. comforting, warm, like a big hug from your oven. and when there’s this much snow, and simply going to the grocery store and then finding a parking spot is a serious undertaking (because, inevitably, your cranky neighbors will have stolen the spot you spent hours shoveling out the day before, and now you have to carry your groceries half a mile back to your house because the only available spot is on the other side of the neighborhood), the only thing that will help is something simple and delicious. and meatloaf is so easy to put together, and so completely worth the minimal effort that it takes, that there’s really no excuse not to make it. 

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there are so many variations that it’s overwhelming – suffice to say, this recipe is infinitely changeable. don’t like celery? leave it out. prefer ground lamb instead of pork? go for it. wish it had more cheese? i would never, ever stop you from adding more cheese. and if you want this to be even more decadent, pull a ree drummond and wrap the whole thing in bacon.

not-quite-kitchen-sink meatloaf

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely diced or pressed
2 stalks celery, diced
1 pound ground chuck
1 pound ground pork
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tsp chopped parsley
2 tsp chopped basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

for the sauce:
1 cup ketchup
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

preheat oven to 350 degrees.

in a large bowl, combine ground chuck, ground pork, yogurt, cheese, bread crumbs, eggs, worcestershire sauce, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper.

in a large saucepan, warm olive oil on medium heat. add onion, and saute until translucent, about five minutes. add garlic and celery, and saute for another three minutes. add to meat mixture. wash your hands thoroughly and use them to combine everything. it will look like a hot mess in a bowl, but once it’s baked, it will be delicious.

press mixture into a large loaf pan. (there’s no need to grease this, but i like to line mine with a few layers of aluminum foil so that i can lift the entire loaf out after it’s baked and slice it on a cutting board. you don’t have to do this if you’d prefer to slice it in the loaf pan, but a lot of fat tends to accumulate in the bottom of the pan and i find removing the meatloaf from the pan makes it easier to deal with.)

in a small bowl, combine ketchup, mustard, and worcestershire sauce. use a spoon to spread the sauce over the top of the loaf. put the meatloaf into the oven and bake for an hour. serve immediately, preferably over mashed potatoes.

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**you may have noticed that the blog got a facelift over the weekend. i’ll still be tweaking the design over the next few weeks, but i’d love to get your feedback – rants, raves, snarky comments are all accepted. i’m also working on a new photography portfolio that will also be growing over the coming weeks, and i’d love feedback on that as well, if you check it out. thanks again for reading!

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