Monday, February 13, 2012


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I make meatloaf just once in awhile. It's one of those things that I get a craving for...and I know I have to make it. I love ordering a meatloaf sandwich in a diner, as it's like a burger...but 'different' if you know what I mean. The first few times I made meatloaf, it was heavy, and not particularly tasty. I had a tough time deciding how much seasoning I needed to add. Now, experience, and the addition of a good amount of homemade breadcrumbs have transformed the old, tasteless meatloaf of twenty years ago into something moist, and incredibly flavourful.

The breadcrumbs:

I like to make my own breadcrumbs. My freezer is full of small bags filled with heels of loaves of a wide variety of 'toast-bread'. The P-Man is a bit of a toast connoisseur...and I am always buying new bread to find him a favorite. I pick a day when the oven is already on, and I lay all the little bits of frozen bread on a cookie sheet, and when the oven is still hot, but empty, I put the cookie sheet in until I can see the bread had dried, and changed colour a bit. I let the bread cool, and then put the dried bread in a plastic bag, on my kitchen concrete floor, and bash the heck out of it with my trusty rolling pin.(It's best to use 2 or 3 layers of bags, as the sharp edges poke through the bag, and you end up with a fine layer of crumbs all over the floor! I believe these breadcrumbs are the secret to delicious meatloaf.

The rest:

I always start with a large bowl with the breadcrumbs in the bowl,I pour enough milk into the bowl to completely cover the crumbs, plus approximately 1/2 inch of milk. Leave it until the milk has been completely absorbed into the crumbs. Then I pile the rest of the ingredients on top, and mix everything with my hands.

1 lb extra lean ground beef (In this recipe you can use 'extra-lean' because the milk and the egg and the onions keep everything super moist)
1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs coarse or fine- remember the better the crumbs, the better the meatloaf!
1 egg
milk to cover crumbs plus 1/2 inch- I use 1% milk
2 Tbsp coarse ground Dijon mustard
2 tsp sweet Paprika
2 onions chopped fine-medium to large onions
1 tsp whole coriander seed (ground up a bit)
2 tsp Herbes de Provence (ground up a bit)
salt and pepper to taste, at least 1 tsp of each
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro
1 can tomato soup- I use Amy's Organics Tomato Bisque

In a medium pan add 1 tsp olive oil and the chopped onions. Feel free to use butter if you like the taste. Saute the onions over medium heat for 5 minutes and add the herbs, salt and pepper. Keep stirring until onions are soft. You can brown them if you like, but I just like them soft. take mixture off the heat, and cool for 10 minutes in the fridge.
In a bowl, soak the breadcrumbs in milk, and when the milk has been absorbed sprinkle over the Paprika, and add the egg, mustard, and ground beef. Add the cooled onions, and mix with your hands, until well combined. Grease a non-stick loaf pan with olive oil, and add the meat mixture. Smooth the top, and add approx 1/2 can of the tomato soup, and bake in a 350 degree pre-heated oven, tin lightly covered with aluminum foil for 1 hour. Remove from oven and serve immediately, or let cool and refrigerate. This meatloaf will last at least a week in the fridge, and re-heats beautifully. It also freezes well, so you could double the recipe and have one for later.
I hope you'll try this...especially if you have never tried a meatloaf full of tender sweet onions, and lightened with delicious home-made bread crumbs.

This meatloaf got the P-Man's double thumbs up: Seal of Approval!

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