Jan requested that I make meatloaf for dinner. Both Jan and Eilene like the outsides of the loaf to have plenty of “crusty bits.” One way to please them is to make mini-meatloaves. A second, easier, way is to not make the loaf too thick—a low thin loaf. Add some fry bread and a salad and you have a really nice meal.
One thing that Eilene does not like is any kind of sauce on top of her meat. Jan, on the other hand, loves having a ketchup based sauce on her meatloaf. How to please them both?
My usual solution is to cover only half the loaf with the sauce. Today, I decided to do something just a bit different. I would make a sauce to spoon over the individual slices, as my diners wished.
My mother, Claudia, always used ketchup, vinegar, and brown sugar to make a sweet and sour sauce to put on her meatloaf. I have always followed her recipe on that. Today, I decided on something a little different.
I have been making my Christmas marmalade and I though orange marmalade is already sweet and sour. What would happen if I added some ketchup and heated it up a bit in the microwave? It came out really well.
One secret to a really tender meatloaf is to use a panade. This is a starch mixed with a liquid that binds the meat together. I was reading about the mistakes to avoid when making meatloaf. In the past, I had always thought all you had to do was to add the dry bread crumbs and the milk to the meat and it would take care of itself.
Wrong, like many things in cooking, order matters—using the old way, my meat loaves tended to come out a bit dry and crumbly. Soaking the bread and milk together until they have become a paste is an important step. The milk unlocks the starch molecules, so that they can recombine during cooking to bind the ground meat together.
Karl’s Meatloaf with Orange Marmalade Sauce
¾ cup bread crumbs
1 cup milk
2 Tbs. olive oil
1½ cup onion, finely diced
½ tsp. Kosher salt
½ cup celery, finely diced
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. chervil
½ tsp. rosemary, ground
½ tsp. black pepper, cracked
¼ tsp. oregano
¼ cup dry sherry
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 lb. ground beef (15%)
½ lb. ground pork
Karl’s Orange Marmalade sauce
2 Tbs. Karl’s Orange Micro Marmalade
2 Tbs. ketchup
1. Put the bread crumbs in a small bowl and stir in the milk.
Tip: Grate the dried ends of sour dough and sweet French baguette loaves into fine crumbs.
Note: Whenever I buy a loaf of bread the last few inches seem to end up on the shelf to dry out. When I have collected 3-4 of them, I grate them on a box grater and put the crumbs in a plastic bag in the freezer until I need them for a recipe.
2. Set the bowl of bread aside for 15 minutes, so that the crumbs can completely soak up the milk.
3. Heat the oil in a medium pan, over medium high heat, and sauté the onions with the salt until just starting to pick up some color, about five minutes.
4. Add the celery and continue sautéing until the vegetables are soft.
5. Pull the vegetables to the sides of the pan and sauté the garlic in the hole in the center for one minute, until fragrant.
6. Add the tomato paste to the garlic and continue cooking and scrapping until the tomato paste has started to darkened, about three minutes.
7. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the herbs, pepper, and sherry.
Tip: Let this mixture cool for a minute so that it does not partially cook the egg when you add it to the meat mixture.
8. Put the beef and pork in a large bowl and mix in the panade, the mixture in the pan, and the egg.
9. Pam a lipped baking sheet and a large bread loaf pan well.
10. Pack the meat mixture into the loaf pan.
11. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and turn the meatloaf out onto the baking sheet.
Tip: You can must cook the loaf in the bread loaf pan, but then only the top will become crusty. by turning the loaf out onto the baking sheet you have 5 sides of the loaf—much more surface area—exposed to the dry heat of the oven.
12. Put the meatloaf in a 375º F oven and bake 50-65 minutes.
Note: How long you need to cook the meatloaf depends on its thickness, bake until the internal temperature reaches 160 º F.
13. Remove the loaf from the oven and cover it with tinfoil to rest.
14. While the meat is resting, mix the sauce and heat it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
Note: You have to take great care not to overheat the sauce or it will bubble over and make a mess in your microwave.
15. Slice the meatloaf into ¾ inch slices and serve the warm sauce on the side.