Like most couples, my husband and I have different ways of doing things and that extends to how we prepare certain dishes. Meatloaf is one of those dishes – every family has their own version and there are so many variations – some served with gravy (which is how Jack had it growing up), others with just a savory topping, and others plain. The great thing is that meatloaf can be prepared differently each time based on your family’s personal preferences, or based on what ingredients you have in the refrigerator.
This recipe for meatloaf is a variation of the one that I grew up with – a savory beef mixture topped with a sweet tomato ketchup crust. While I have recollections of my mom seasoning her meatloaf with a package of Lipton’s onion soup mix and seasoned breadcrumbs (and there is nothing wrong with that!), we’ve taken a different approach here by adding some sausage and sweet and hot pepper relish to the ground beef to make it a savory meatloaf as well as some shredded and diced vegetables to keep the meat moist and juicy.
Although this meatloaf is great served right out of the oven for a meal, I love it even more the following day in a meatloaf sandwich made with thick slices of whole grain bread, mayo and some lettuce and tomato.
- 2 cups loosely packed white bread, crusts removed and cut into small pieces
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup carrots, finely shredded
- ½ cup finely chopped onions
- ½ cup finely chopped celery
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 pounds fresh ground beef (80/20 mix)
- ½ pound fresh Italian sausage removed from casing
- ½ cup sweet and hot pepper relish (found at the supermarket)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- A few dashes hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon dried cumin
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small bowl, combine diced white bread and milk. Let soak while preparing the next steps in the recipe.
- Heat olive oil in a small pan over medium heat and sauté carrots, onions and celery for 4-5 minutes until tender. Add garlic and sauté for 1 more minute. Cool to room temperature.
- In large bowl place ground beef, sausage, pepper relish, beaten eggs, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and cooked vegetables. Do not mix yet.
- With your hands or wooden spoon, keep squeezing the bread and milk until there are no lumps. Add bread and milk to beef mixture.
- Now gently mix all of the ingredients until blended. (Do not over mix or else the finished meatloaf will be tough.)
- Take a small amount and sauté it in a small fry pan and taste. Adjust seasoning in the mixture if needed.
- Place mixture onto a parchment lined sheet pan and form into a low, flat loaf. Keep dipping your hands in water and rubbing top and sides of loaf – this step helps eliminate cracks in the top of the loaf as it bakes.
- To prepare the topping, combine Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, mustard, cumin and honey. Spread over tops and sides of the meatloaf.
- Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until an internal thermometer reads 160 degrees. Let rest for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.
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