Updated with new photos, from the recipe archive. First posted in 2004.
Why do I love meatloaf? It reminds me of being a kid. Where does one get meatloaf other than at home or at a school cafeteria? When I lived in San Francisco I bought meatloaf already mixed and seasoned from my local butcher. Just mixed in an egg, put it in a loaf pan, and popped it in the oven for an hour. These days I wait for my father to whip up a batch. He makes the Best. Meatloaf. Ever. His trick? He uses a mix of ground beef and pork, but the pork he uses is Italian pork sausage (half sweet, half spicy) instead of plain ground pork. He found the original recipe in an old issue of Gourmet (April 1994) and has adjusted it to his taste (including the sausage substitution) over the years. It takes a little more prep time because of the sofritto base (minced carrots, onions, celery, and garlic), but it is so worth it!
Classic Meatloaf Recipe
Many meatloaf recipes call for ground veal or pork in addition to ground beef. You might want to experiment with a third each of beef, pork, and veal. If you don't have access to spicy ground pork or Italian sausage, add a pinch of fennel seeds and a half teaspoon of hot sauce to regular ground pork.
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup of minced onion
- 1 celery rib, minced
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 carrot, minced
- 1/2 cup of minced green onion, including the onion greens
- 2 teaspoon salt (use 1 1/2 teaspoons if using Italian sausage)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2/3 cup ketchup, divided 1/3 and 1/3
- 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef (chuck)
- 3/4 pound of spicy ground pork sausage or Italian sausage (a mix of sweet and hot if you are using links)
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 2 large eggs, beaten slightly
- 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1 Preheat oven to 350° F, with a rack in the middle.
2 In a large, heavy skillet, melt the butter on medium heat until foamy. Add the minced onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and green onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Cover the skillet and cook for an additional 5 minutes, until the carrots are tender, stirring occasionally. Add the salt, freshly ground black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/3 a cup of the ketchup. Cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and let cool to the touch.
3 In a large bowl, use your clean hands to combine the ground beef, spicy ground pork sausage, eggs, breadcrumbs, the cooked vegetables from step 2, and parsley.
4 Press mixture into a loaf pan with 2-inch high sides, or form the mixture into a free standing loaf and place in a rimmed roasting pan. Cover the loaf with the remaining ketchup.
5 Bake the meatloaf in a 350°F oven for 1 hour, or until the internal temperature of the meatloaf reaches 155°F. Let rest for 10 minutes. Then gently remove by lifting with a spatula to a serving plate, and slice to serve.