Friday, February 17, 2012

Paradise by the Oven Lights (aka Meatloaf)

When asked what we should have for dinner tonight, I did a quick mental inventory of what proteins we had in the freezer and what we'd been eating lately. I came to the realization that we had quite a bit of ground beef, but that we hadn't actually used ground beef in a few weeks. Since I really didn't want to eat any more chicken, I gave the family the option of hamburgers, hamburger steaks, or meatloaf. Meatloaf was the consensus, and I'm really glad that it was.

It was half gone before I could even take a picture.

When discussing how much to make, my mother mentioned that she didn't like leftover meatloaf. Of course, that meant that my brain clicked, and I recalled just how much my dad and I do like leftover meatloaf - the flavors meld together even better after a day or so, and a slice of meatloaf makes for a great sandwich filling. So, I decided to use two pounds of meat instead of the one. And for the first time, I finally documented how much I used of what when I made it, so I finally have a recipe.

The real secret is the use of oats, which is much more nutritious than solely using breadcrumbs. It also absorbs more moisture, so you don't need as much filler, and you don't end up with a large pool of grease in the bottom of your pan. Also, the sauce is ketchup-based, but it isn't just ketchup - there's mustard, brown sugar, and worchestershire in there, and that makes all the difference.

Beef and Oat Meatloaf

For the meatloaf:

  • 2 lbs ground beef (around 85% fat - filler may need to be adjusted according to fat content)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 1/4 ounce)
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (about 3 ounces)
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped (about 4 ounces)
  • 5 ounces dry oats (about 2/3 cup)
  • 4 ounces breadcrumbs (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tsp fine ground sea salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper (less if freshly ground)
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 shakes worchestershire sauce (around 1 tbsp)

For the sauce:

  • 4.5 ounces ketchup
  • 1.5 ounces brown sugar
  • 6 shakes worchestershire (about 1.5 tbsp)
  • 3/4 ounce spicy brown mustard

In a large bowl, mix together vegetables and dry ingredients. Add beef and egg, and mix together with clean hands until the mixture comes together and is slightly tacky. If mixture is too dry, a small amount of water or vegetable juice can be added. In a separate bowl, stir together sauce ingredients. Coat an 11x7" casserole dish with vegetable oil. Form the meat mixture into a long loaf and place in casserole dish. Bake in a 350 degree oven until a probe thermometer positioned in the center of the loaf reads 155 degrees, adding sauce to the top of the loaf after about 30 minutes, or when thermometer reads around 125 degrees. Serves 5-6.

Total cook/prep time: 1.5 hours
Happiness rating: 8

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