Basic meatloaf

Basic meatloaf

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery
Serves
6

A well-made meatloaf should be light and juicy, and hold its shape when cut. Handle the meat lightly when mixing so that the final result is not too dense. A small proportion of fat helps to retain juiciness, and the loaves slice best when bound with egg, and not overcooked. Meatloaf is good eaten hot or cold; it provides an excellent filling for sandwiches or bread rolls, or simply slice and pack in a lunchbox with crisp lettuce wedges and tiny tomatoes. Serve meatloaf at lunch with appropriate salads, or hot for dinner with vegetables and a suitable sauce, such as tomato or barbecue.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1kg minced steak
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
80g fresh breadcrumbs
250ml evaporated milk
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh herbs, chopped
or 1/2 teaspoon dried fresh herbs
2-3 rashers bacon, rind removed, (optional)

Gravy

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon plain flour
375ml beef stock

Method

  1. Thoroughly combine all ingredients except bacon. Pack lightly into a greased loaf tin, or shape mixture into a loaf on a shallow baking tray. Top with bacon rashers, if using, and bake in a preheated moderate oven for 1 hour or until loaf shrinks slightly from sides of tin, if using.
  2. Pour 2 tablespoons fat from tin or tray into a saucepan. Add flour and stir over medium heat until brown. Pour in stock, stir until boiling and simmer for 3 minutes. Strain into a heated sauceboat.
  3. Serve meatloaf hot with gravy and vegetables, or cold with a salad. Alternatively, meatloaf may be served hot with smooth tomato sauce or mushroom sauce.

Variations

  • Crusty meatloaf: Make basic meatloaf mixture and shape into a loaf on a baking tray. Omit bacon; score top into diamond shapes with the back of a knife. Bake as above, basting every 15 minutes with 125 ml melted butter mixed with 125 ml white wine or stock.

    Other meats: Make basic meatloaf using 1 kg mixed minced veal and pork, or 500 g minced steak and 250 g each minced veal and pork.

    Egg loaf: Place one-quarter of the basic meatloaf mixture in loaf tin, put 3 shelled hard-boiled eggs down the middle and pack remaining meat mixture over and around them. Top with bacon and bake as described.

    Other seasonings: Add any of the following to basic meatloaf mixture: 1 clove garlic, crushed; 125 g grated cheese; 45 g sliced sautéed mushrooms; 80 g chopped green pepper or celery; 225 g cooked, finely chopped, well-drained spinach; 15 g finely chopped parsley and 40 g pine nuts.

    Potato frosting: Bake basic meatloaf, omitting bacon, in loaf tin and drain off fat. Turn out onto baking tray or ovenproof dish. Spread with 460 g well-seasoned mashed potatoes and brush with melted butter or sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake in preheated hot oven for 20 minutes or until browned.

    Pastry crust: Make basic meatloaf omitting bacon, drain off fat and allow to cool. Roll out 1 × 375 g packet frozen puff pastry, thawed, to rectangle about 25 × 35 cm. Put cooled meat loaf, top side down, in the centre of pastry. Fold pastry completely around loaf, sealing edges with water. Turn right side up on a baking tray and brush pastry with 1 egg lightly mixed with 1 teaspoon milk or water. Decorate with pastry leaves or as desired, attaching decorations with some egg wash. Brush decorations with egg and bake in a preheated hot oven for about 15–20 minutes or until nicely browned.
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