So, how did I come about making such an old American favourite? Admittedly, it was never on my personal culinary list of global dishes to seek out, so it still makes me laugh when I think about the day both my kids were heckling me to make meatloaf…
Meatloaf ? Really? My two little munchkins sat happily perched up on the barstools, and I watched them with interest as I whipped up a banana-almond milkshake for them. Their normal chatter brightened the kitchen, but today their eagerness for meatloaf was intriguing. So, we talk about food, A LOT in our home and the kids are always brilliant little guinea pigs that are quite happy to test everything from sushi to squid, but I don’t recall meatloaf being any part of any deep conversation at the dinner table. They seemed to be so determined on their quest to get me to cook it. Of course, when my kids especially ask me to cook something, I am on it. There is nothing more heartwarming for me than pleasing my two little kiddos! But I still wanted to know where they had seen it, or had they tried it in school, or what’s the story behind the meatloaf quest? Both looked at each other and said, ‘Mum, we saw it in Phineas and Ferb!!! It sounds so yummy!!!’ OK, I did not see that one coming! So thank you, Cartoon Network, for sorting out a dinner plan with no stress!!
Meatloaf, yes admittedly, is actually quite delicious. Well, shiny, clean dinner plates and kids and grow ups alike, asking for leftovers the next day is a pretty good sign your dish has gone down pretty well. I’ve not followed a traditional recipe and swapped the beef for pork, added a kick of spice, covered it generously in caramelized streaky bacon, but for me – it’s still about keeping it very simple and not moving away from what it’s meant to be – which is a big, hefty hearty meatloaf. This is definitely one for picnics and road trips, totally delicious stuffed in Pitta Bread and a lashing of tzatziki!!
200gms of Medium – Picante Chorizo ( Spicy Chorizo ), chopped into small pieces
450gms of streaky bacon
½ cup Milk
4 slices White Bread
¾ cup pea size cubes of mozzarella cheese
3 eggs beaten
1 bunch flat leaf parsley finely chopped
1 tbs of freshly chopped sage
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 leek, finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped spring onion
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp chilli flakes
¾ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Spanish paprika
3 tbs Oil for shallow frying
4 tbs cup Tomato Ketchup
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1 heaped teaspoon English Mustard Sauce ( not a big fan of the powder!)
Tabasco To Taste
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Pour milk over the bread slices. Allow it to soak in for several minutes.
First prepare the Chorizo, Leek and Spring Onion ‘soffrito.’ Heat the oil in a wide frying pan. Add the cumin seeds and fry gently, taking care not to burn. Add the chorizo and cook gently for 1-2 minutes.
Now tip in the leek and the spring onion and fry gently for 3-4 minutes until just softened. Set aside to cool.
Place the pork cubes into a blender and using the pulse button, start to mince the pork. The idea is to get a chunky blend to the meat, NOT a fine slick paste like mince. It should still feel chunky with little pea sized bits of meat in the mixture.
Tip this mixture out into a bowl and add the chorizo-leek-spring onion mix. Squeezing out all the milk from the bread, also add this to the mix.
Now add the beaten eggs, the Spanish paprika, the parsley and sage, mozzarella cheese, coriander powder, salt and black pepper, the allspice, nutmeg and the chilli flakes.
With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined.
Next mix all the basting sauce ingredients together.
Now take a loaf pan , and lightly coat with oil. Start to line the loaf pan with the streaky bacon, overlapping each of the slices slightly over each other. So, the slices will line the tin and have a slight overhang. This is going to form the presentation of your final meat loaf, so try and keep it as neat as possible.
Now spread two tablespoons of the basting mix gently over the bacon slices, making sure the slices are still neatly lined up.
Next start to gently pack in the meatloaf, gently pushing it into the loaf pan and over the bacon slices. Fill the mixture to the top of the loaf pan and then flip the overhanging bacon over onto the meat filling. Take a piece of foil and tightly cover the top of the meatloaf (you can even use butchers string to secure it )
Take a larger baking dish, or tray and pour in boiling water to the halfway mark. Place the loaf tin, foil side up in the water filled dish and place in the oven to cook for 2 ½ hours.
Check whether the meatloaf is cooked, by poking a skewer through it. The juices should run clear and there should be no meat residue on the skewer.
Just before serving, there is one more step and you need to be quite careful here. Remove the foil and place a large serving dish over the loaf pan. Turn it over quickly, taking care of any hot juices that might come out of the pan. ( keep these juices ) The meatloaf should now have your beautiful bacon slices on top as presentation.
Spoon the remaining sauce over the top of the bacon and place under a hot grill for a few minutes until the sauce starts to bubble slightly.
Serve immediately with some very simple, very chunky, buttery roasted or steamed potatoes.
Tip : I love to use the juices from the meatloaf as a base for a gravy. Simply place the juices in a pan to heat. Mix 2 tsp cornflour with water and add it slowly to the hot juices to thicken. This is SO delicious poured over the meatloaf slices!
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