melt-in-your-mouth meatloaf

meatloaf

Confession: I used to HATE meatloaf. It was a dreaded dish of dry, tough, underseasoned, unnaturally shaped meat that was always associated with school cafeterias and sad lunches.

Then one glorious day, meatloaf was redeemed by the always-amazing Ina Garten. I was watching the Food Network and saw her create the most delicious, melt-in-your-mouth, flavorful-looking meatloaf I never knew existed. Served atop buttery mashed potatoes, it was comfort food defined and I vowed to give homemade meatloaf a try.

This recipe is actually inspired by Ina, but adapted to make it ours. Double the recipe (and baking time) if making it for a crowd. And if cafeteria lunches made you swear off meatloaf, I beg you to give this recipe one final try. I promise it’s worth it.

MELT-IN-YOUR-MOUTH MEATLOAF

  • Inspired by Ina Garten
  • Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, leaves removed from stems and stems discarded
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 Tbsp. low-sodium stock (vegetable, beef or chicken)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1 lb. grass fed, 85/15 ground beef  *don’t go leaner as it will cause the meatloaf to be drier
  • 1/4 cup Panko or regular breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup all-natural ketchup
  • Optional: chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside. TIP: Put a pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven with the meatloaf (on the rack underneath the meatloaf). This will prevent the meatloaf from cracking while baking and keep it very moist.
  2. In a medium skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add your onions, garlic and thyme and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent. Set aside to cool for a bit.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, stock, tomato paste, beef, breadcrumbs, and egg. Use a fork to lightly mix everything together to prevent the meatloaf from becoming dense. Add in the slightly cooled onion/garlic/thyme mixture and stir until combined.
  4. Add the meatloaf to the baking sheet and use clean hands to lightly form into a loaf shape. Brush the ketchup on the top and bake for 35-45 minutes until done or a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F. Allow to rest out of the oven for 3-5 minutes before slicing. Top with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

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