I am very excited to announce the winner of Omnomicon’s second Recipe Round Robin: it’s Dixie, who can now officially call herself an award-winning Recipierre! Turns out Dixie is defending her PhD thesis tomorrow, and holy crap, I can’t even imagine the pressure. But the good news is that with grad school is over, she’ll have plenty of time to pore over her prize, this 1000 page tome that I read before bed every night (true story): The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, Heavy-Duty Revised Edition
But a big ole thanks to all the Recipierres who put themselves out there with their precious family favourites (and new takes) and the Tastebuddies who eagerly made not one, but TWO meatloaves over as many weeks and shared their experiences. I’ve said it before, and I’ve no doubt it’ll be said again, but: y’all rock.
And making my job immensely easier is Dixie’s inclusion of a really neat and awesome backstory:
I grew up eating dry, boring meatloaf that my mom (who hated cooking) made, and I believed I didn’t like meatloaf. It wasn’t until I met my grandparents in college (that’s right, until halfway through college Iwouldn’t have known them from Adam and Eve) that I experienced
meatloaf worth eating. For a while it was the only thing I could cook other than omelets, so whenever it was my turn to cook for friends or bring something to a potluck it was this meatloaf.
One of my friends is ridiculously picky and still says she doesn’t like meatloaf. Unless it’s mine.
The truth is that I don’t care much for meatloaf either, so these were promising words! I think a lot of the success of this recipe has to do with creating a channel on the sides of the baking pan to drain the grease. Dixie’s was not the only recipe demonstrating this technique, and indeed, even America’s Test Kitchen agreed that draining grease was important. Without doing so, the meatloaf will get soggy at the bottom and that gross grey ground beef sludge will abound. Disgustingly.
I’m a complete jerk because I just realized, like, while typing this out, that I completely forgot the breadcrumbs! Crappish! So imagine a loaf with a bit more body. I have to say, though, I was very impressed with this meatloaf. I really don’t eat meatloaf because it’s usually totally not worth the calories, but this one, somehow . . . it’s different. I saved the leftovers and didn’t feed them to my coworkers. That’s mighty praise.
The pic on the right looks like it has an abstract face in it. If you see that too. If not, um, I must be awfully lonely tonight.
I drained like, a cup of stuff out of the meatloaf at the 45 minute mark, and it was exhilarating! Really, I suddenly felt SO much better about eating a slice of meat Wonderbread knowing that so much fat had been removed. The nice thing is that you can get the cheaper, fattier ground beef, which will baste itself as it cooks, leading to a nice tender loaf with the calorie-dense fat removed. It’s a perfect system as far as I can tell. The loaf does shrink up quite a bit; I used a 90/10 leanness, and a leaner loaf will be bigger and a fattier loaf will shrink up even more. In the future, I think I’d have used a 93/7, but any meat you want to use will do.
I did halve Dixie’s original recipe, as hers bakes 2 lbs of beef in a 9×13 pan and I am the only one home this week. I also probably eat less than 2 lbs of beef in an entire month, so eating that much in the next week just wasn’t going to happen.
Dixie serves her meatloaf with “garlic mashed potatoes and mushy peas,” and normally I’d go to great lengths to recreate this as it sounds so classic, but alas, peas are probably the one food I just hate hate hate and will not eat. I’m not even remotely picky about food, but peas tortured my entire childhood and I’m just not ready to move on yet. So I steamed up some green beans with almond slivers and enjoyed it that way instead.
And my my, what a delightful loaf of meat! Thank you, Dixie, for sharing a family gem. Take it away!
Oh oh, and hey, everyone, the next Recipe Round-Robin will be announced in about a week. We’re looking for a sweet treat this time around, so feel free to use the comments on this post to not only wax poetic on Dixie’s tantalizing recipe, but also to cast your vote for what we should do next time!
My Grandfather’s Meatloaf
2 lb ground beef
1 stick of celery
2 cloves of garlic
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 16 oz can of tomato sauce
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp soy sauce (packets left over from Chinese takeout work great:
use 2 packets)
3 tbsp sugar
Preheat the oven to 325F.
Chop the celery, onion, and garlic. The finer you chop, the more heterogeneous your meatloaf will be. You may beat the eggs before adding them to the mix, but I don’t. Combine the beef, celery, onion, garlic, eggs, breadcrumbs, and *half* the can of tomato sauce. I use my hands to squish everything together.
When fully mixed, place in a shallow bread tray (my grandfather used,and I still use a 13 x 9 casserole dish, having never personally witnessed a “shallow bread tray,” but I pass the term along in case you foodies have one or know where to find one). Create a channel along the sides to drain the grease.
Mix the mustard, soy sauce, sugar, and the rest of the tomato sauce in a small saucepan and heat gently. Pour half of the heated mixture over the loaf. Bake the loaf covered for 45 minutes. Take the loaf out, drain the grease. Add the rest of the sauce to the loaf and bake uncovered for 30 more minutes. Drain the
grease again. Allow the loaf to stand for 10 minutes before serving.
nutrition summary: I have absolutely no idea. Since a lot of fat is drained out during the cooking, and having no way to quantify how much of that was actual fat and what was other juices, I really am unable to calculate calories for this dish. Given the grease draining, I’d assign this a health score of “not that bad for you.” Suggestions are always welcome.