One of my favorite things in the world is just a darn good, no-frills, nothin’ fancy meat loaf. Here it is: Chili-Glazed Meat Loaf.
Adapted from the cookbook Meat Loaf by Maryana Vollstedt (published in 2007 by Chronicle Books), the original recipe calls for bacon strips to be placed over the top. Add them if you wish, but then we’re starting to talk “frills.”
Now don’t get me wrong; I love bacon.
However, atop a meat loaf is not enough bacon to make me happy eating bacon, so I’d rather just enjoy the meat loaf itself and enjoy the bacon some other time. (Lots of it some other time. Just ask the guy who was in back of me at the Owen Brennan’s Sunday brunch a few weeks ago.)
Meat loaf is considered to be an American invention, however, the concept of combining ground meat with other ingredients and then cooking them together in loaf form goes back centuries. Meat loaf became popular in this country around World War II as a thrifty way to use up ingredients before they spoiled.
When I prepare meat loaf, I get all the ingredients besides the meat mixed together first so they’ll be more evenly distributed throughout the meat loaf. I then put on disposable gloves and mix everything together with my hands.
To bake in a pan or not to bake in a pan is often the question. I’m a neat freak and meat loaf drippings can spatter all over the oven, so I opt for the pan. As soon as I take the meat loaf out of the oven, I immediately drain off any drippings then let it rest about ten minutes before slicing it. It’s just the two of us around here so when I reheat the remaining meat loaf in portions (think… meat loaf sandwiches), I prefer it not be dry.
The only way to tell if a meat loaf is fully cooked is with a good meat thermometer; it should register 165 degrees.
Some mashed potatoes and a green veggie and you’re good to go!
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
3/4 cup panko
1/2 cup whole milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chili sauce (such as Heinz)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1/2 cup chili sauce (or the rest of the bottle)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
MEAT LOAF: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the beef and mix well. Add beef and combine well.
Turn mixture into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and pat down. Bake 40 minutes. Brush glaze ingredients over meat loaf and bake another 20-25 minutes or until cooked through to 165 degrees. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
CHILI GLAZE: Combine glaze ingredients in a small bowl.