I love meatloaf. I mean, I really love meatloaf (and leftover meatloaf sammies? Don’t event get me started!) Tony, on the other hand, not such a fan. When I first broached the subject a couple of decades ago, his response was something like, “No way. Meatloaf? Gross. Why would anyone want to eat a loaf of meat?” Okay. I’ll admit, when you phrase it like that, it’s not so appealing. My argument was, “but you like burgers…it’s basically the same thing, only bigger.” Well, it was an argument I wasn’t going to win.
So I order meatloaf when we go out. And often usually pretty much always, when Tony goes out of town, I either make myself a little mini meatloaf (from that old tried-and-true Betty Crocker cookbook) or I order “to go” the Frieda’s Meatloaf from our local favorite Trails restaurant.
But that’s not to say that I haven’t tried to convert him. I think in the 29 years that we’ve been married (plus the four we were dating before that), maybe three times I’ve convinced him to try a “loaf of meat”. First time was pretty early on. It was my favorite from aforementioned Betty Crocker cookbook. No go.
So I took a few years off and then last year, there was a recipe in Bon Appétit for banh mi-inspired meatloaf sandwiches, with a hoisin glaze. He actually liked that. (It was a pretty complicated recipe and involved cooking bacon first and adding it to the meat mixture and, of course, we didn’t have it in “loaf” style, just sliced on sandwiches, topped with a really yummy slaw, but we’re getting closer!)
Then when I bought the Smitten Kitchen cookbook a few months ago, there was a recipe for Tomato-Glazed Meatloaves. She writes that she is a “sucker for a good meatball…however, it had always been my belief that I had no such adoration for meatloaf” and then someone pointed out that meatloaf is like one giant meatball. HA! She says she came up with a great recipe, but that still couldn’t “get past the loglike meatloaf shape”, so makes these little “meatloaves masquerading as big meatballs.” So I figure I’ll try them. Tell Tony they’re just big meatballs. HA! And guess what? It worked. He liked them!
Now I’m happy that there are two “loaf of meat” recipes I can make. This one is much easier and cooks a lot quicker (the cooking time is about a third of what it takes to do a full-sized loaf). Annnnddd…you can have meatloaf sliders for lunch the next day!
Tony was away at a guys’ golf trip this past weekend…guess what I made?
Tomato-Glazed Mini Meatloaves
(adapted just slightly from Smitten Kitchen)
Makes 12 mini meatloaves – serves 6
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons honey (I would actually double this next time – I like a sweeter glaze)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 slices sandwich bread (should be about 1 cup of crumbs. Note – I actually “cheated” and used a cup of store bought panko crumbs)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium stalk celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
Olive oil, for cooking
2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 large eggs
Optional – 8 ounces mushrooms, doubled or quartered, to toss in the baking dish and bake alongside the mini loaves
Combine glaze ingredients in a small saucepan, and simmer, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Set aside.
Preheat your oven to 350°. Tear the bread into chunks and then blend it, in a food processor, into breadcrumbs (or use one cup store bought crumbs). Place breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Add the vegetables to processor and finely chop (or do it by hand).
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, coat the bottom with olive oil; add the finely chopped vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
Add the vegetables to the large bowl with breadcrumbs, then add the remaining ingredients. Stir together with a fork. With wet hands, form the mixture into twelve 3 inch meatballs.
Space the meatballs so that they are not touching, in a baking dish. Brush each with a teaspoon or so of the tomato glaze. (If you’re adding mushrooms, here’s where you’d do it…just quarter or halve and scatter around the meatballs.) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.
Serve on a bed of your favorite mashed potatoes.