I don’t know why meatloaf gets such a bad name. It’s economical, fast and easy, and can be super delicious. It needs a lot of flavor though, maybe that’s where the dislike comes from. But as a palette on which to paint flavor it’s pretty great.

Recently I made a meatloaf that definitely counts among the best I’ve done. I thought I’d share with anyone that was feeling especially meat-hungry.

The beauty of meatloaf is how it’s a one bowl meal. So into a mixing bowl I put beef mince, finely cut onion, mushroom, and celery, small-cubed cheddar cheese, one egg, a tiny bit of milk, lots of pepper and some ground cloves, a bit of polenta to bind it together. Normally I would use bread crumbs, but I was out and used polenta in a pinch and really liked it.

To mix it together you have to get in there with your hands and really smoosh it together. Which I really enjoy! Then just form it into a loaf shape and put it in a pan. I put chunks of potato coated with olive oil around the loaf to roast.

A really important part of the meatloaf is the sauce. I made a tomato based sauce with tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt, and cayenne pepper. I make enough to coat the meatloaf twice, once before it goes into the oven, and once about ten minutes before it comes out.

So in it goes! Pretty easy, and about an hour in a 190C oven and it’s done! And so delicious, yum!

Ready to Eat

One great thing about meatloaf is that you can play with the flavors and ingredients to change the style. For instance, an asian inspired meatloaf with chopped water chestnuts or bamboo shoots mixed in, with a dark soy sauce based glaze. Or a mexican inspired meatloaf, with peppers and corn in the meat, and a tomato sauce with lots of cumin and cayenne and chili powder. Or a mole sauce! Mmmmm…

Or how about making a meatloaf with a tunnel of cheese in the middle? Or stuffed with herbed rice, or maybe glazed with a pumpkiny glaze? Oh man, I’m definitely going to try that one!

Go crazy with the meatloaf! And let me know if you come up with something especially magnificent!