Sometimes life is so crazy that all I want to do when I get home is have a hearty meal and curl up with a good book or watch a favorite movie. One of my “go-to” meals in this situation is my wife’s meatloaf. “What’s so special about meatloaf?” I hear you saying. Believe me, its special and you should try it.
Not Mom’s meatloaf
Growing up, I don’t recall my mother making meatloaf very often. In fact, I think we typically had the frozen variety that came swimming in a tomato sauce, or maybe I’m thinking of Salisbury steak. Don’t get me wrong, my mom is a great cook but we did these on weeknights after both my parents got home from work. It wasn’t really my favorite, but I couldn’t eat pizza and burgers all the time.
A way to the heart, through the stomach
My wife made this meatloaf for me when we first started dating and I knew I had to marry this woman. She wouldn’t tell me for the longest time what was in it but I began to piece it together until she finally relented and shared her secret with me. It’s in the meat or rather meats that she uses. This meatloaf has a total of four, yes, I said four, different meats; ground beef, ground lamb, pork sausage, and bacon. It is soooo good! I can feel my arteries clogging already.
The meats, however, aren’t the only source of flavor in this dish. A judicious amount of vegetables, seasonings, cheese and beef stock all go into a meatloaf that doesn’t require any ketchup or tomato sauce topping. We like to serve it with some horseradish and garlic mashed potatoes and a couple of green vegetables. I try to eat healthy-ish.
It’s best to make this dish on the weekend as the recipe takes about 2 hours total for prep and baking. A bonus is that using all that meat yields two meatloaves. Eat one now and freeze the other for later, say next week when you are pressed for time. Live, Laugh, Love and Eat Well.
Karen’s Special Meatloaf
- 1 LB Lean ground beef (80/20 or higher)
- 1 LB ground lamb
- 1 LB ground pork or pork sausage (pork sausage is better and I use a mild sausage)
- 1 cup finely chopped celery
- 1 cup finely chopped onion (red or yellow)
- 1 to 2 cups crushed wheat crackers (I used wheat saltines and cut back a little on the salt)
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 cup beef stock
- 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
- 1 TBSP dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried cilantro
- 1 tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt)
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 to 6 pieces of thickly sliced of bacon
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 F and place rack in the middle of the oven.
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl reserving about ½ of the crackers and all the bacon. Mix together. If the mixture is too wet, add some more crackers until the mixture binds but isn’t too dry.
Divide the mixture equally between two standard loaf pans. Cut the bacon strips in half and spread evenly over the top of each loaf (two or three full slices per loaf).
Bake for 1 hour uncovered, then remove from oven and then carefully pour off the grease. Return to oven and bake for 30 minutes. You may want to broil off the top a few minutes if it’s not brown enough for your liking.
Note: If using a wider loaf pan, you may want to reduce the baking time by 10 to 15 minutes or risk drying out the meatloaf. If your meatloaf is prone to sticking, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper before adding the meatloaf mixture and remove after baking when the meatloaf has cooled slightly.