Rep Note:
Meat Loaf
14 November 2018

¶ What weeknight dinner repertoire does not include meat loaf? Mine hasn’t, for a long time. For years, I followed my mother-in-law’s recipe, because Kathleen liked it. Then I wandered and experimented. When I would return to my mother-in-law’s recipe, it was always better than the experiments, but somehow always worse than it used to be, or disappointing. I also discovered, over the years, that I’m not crazy about leftover meat loaf. Meatloaf sandwiches? No thanks.

As I say, though, Kathleen likes meat loaf. So I bought one of those meatloaf-mix packages at Fairway the other day (equal parts veal, beef, and pork), with the idea of seeing what The Joy of Cooking has to say.

I knew I’d need an onion, too, so I picked a nice one. I decided not to follow Joy on the onion, though; instead of simply chopping it to bits, I sliced it thin with a mandoline and cooked it slowly with a little butter. Well, maybe too much better, and maybe over too high a flame at the start. The result gave the meat loaf  the flavor of caramelized onion, which was yummy, but not the texture. 

Joy calls for a lot of parsley — 2/3 cup, chopped. I balked at the quantity, and I can’t say that the meat loaf suffered. And I’m not unhappy that I stinted on the chili sauce, either. But I ought to have thrown a fourth slice of brioche into the food processor. 

Joy says to mix by hand but not to overmix. I found this perplexing, probably because I didn’t seem to have a light hand. Every time I scooped my hands into the bowl of ingredients, I felt that I was manhandling it. But it turned out to be adequately blended in the end. 

I shaped a handsome free-form loaf on a baking tin, and, in a further uncalled-for step (familiar from many other recipes, though), I topped the loaf with two slices of bacon. In the event, they added nothing, and made slicing difficult. 

Dinner was served. Very satisfying.

I had taken the two slices from the center of the loaf, leaving a large end, which I wrapped in foil and froze, and a small end, which I wrapped in plastic and tossed into the fridge. I have an idea about what to do with the small end, but I’m going to keep it to myself until I give it a try.

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