Meatloaf Starter Ingredients
2 cups yellow onion (one large yellow onion)
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced (2–3 cloves)
1 ½ cups red bell pepper, (about one large pepper)
1 ½ cups green bell pepper, (about one large pepper)
1 cup carrots, (about 2–3 medium carrots)
½ cup sundried tomatoes
¼ cup fresh flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
1 28-ounce can ground tomatoes (we used Cento Kitchen Ready)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Additional ingredients to make a meatloaf using the Meatloaf Starter (8 servings)
1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
¼ cup milk
2 pounds 80/20 ground beef
3 medium eggs
1 ½ cups prepared Meatloaf Starter
¼ cup ketchup
To Prepare the Meatloaf Starter
Place onion, garlic, both peppers, carrots, sun dried tomatoes, and parsley into a food processor and process until the mixture is finely ground (size smaller than grains of rice but larger than ground coffee).
In a 5-quart non-stick pot, add olive oil and over medium high heat, add the contents of the food processor and cook for about five minutes until soft and starting to caramelize.
Push the vegetables to the sides, then add tomato paste into center and cook for two minutes, then stir it into the cooked vegetables.
Add Worcestershire sauce and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the Worcestershire sauce starts to evaporate.
Add all other ingredients, bring to a simmer and simmer with a cover for 45 minutes. Use a heat diffuser under the pan to stop sticking and stir the mixture every ten minutes, more often close to the end.
The resulting mixture will be thick and grainy.
Cool then portion out (1 ½ cups each) into five quart-sized zipper seal bags. Squeeze out all air before sealing and lay flat to freeze up to six months.
Thaw before using.
To Prepare a Meatloaf using the Meatloaf Starter
To make one meatloaf, preheat oven to 350 degrees F with a rack in the upper third of the oven.
Mix bread crumbs and milk in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix 2 pounds of 80/20 ground beef with the 3 eggs and 1½ cups of the meatloaf starter. Add the milk-soaked bread crumbs and mix again to evenly combine.
Pack mixture into a 1 ½ quart loaf pan, mounding in the center and leaving a quarter inch ridge around the inside edge to catch the grease. You want to make sure there are no air pockets so add a little meat mixture, smooth and keep adding more mixture until you have used it all. Smooth out the top using wet fingers to avoid cracks, then spray the top with pan spray.
Cover a small sheetpan with foil and place a rack on top. Spray the rack for easy cleanup.
Place the loaf pan onto the rack and place into the upper third of the oven.
Roast for between 60 and 75 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F. (Oven temperatures will vary.)
Remove from the oven and carefully pour out any grease.
Spread the top with the ketchup and place back into the oven for 15 more minutes or until the internal temperature of the center of the meatloaf reaches 155 degrees F.
Remove from the oven and let rest ten minutes, then slice and serve. Makes enough for 8-10 people.
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Using 80/20 ground beef makes a big difference. We tried this meatloaf recipe once with very lean ground beef and it had a slight dry texture. The extra fat really helps yield a moist meatloaf.