Meat loaf is one of those meals that I don’t think about very often, until I do. Once the thought’s in my head, it becomes a craving that needs to be obliged. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t love cranking up the oven for hours when it’s hot out (and especially not when it’s just me for dinner). I planned a comforting meat loaf and mashed potatoes dinner for last Saturday anyhow. As luck would have it, Saturday turned out to be a windy, rainy, threat of terrible storms and tornado watch kind of day. So the meat loaf was made, the craving was dealt with, and we waited for the storm to pick up.
I should probably say meat loaves because instead of making one big meat loaf in a loaf pan, I made free- formed individual meat loaves instead. What’s great about doing it this way is that every portion has the right mixture of the hard “crust” that some people love about end pieces, but the softer inside that some people love about the inner pieces. I baked these on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet instead of directly on top of the baking sheet to allow some of the fat to drain off of these and to get an even texture the whole way around. The finished result was absolutely delicious. Lane turned one into a sandwich the next day, am it held up wonderfully. Next time I make these, I might try some barbecue on top instead of the ketchup, I’m sure it’ll be equally fantastic.
Individual Meat Loaves
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/3 C. canned chicken stock or broth
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 1/2 lbs. ground chuck (80 per cent lean)
- 1/2 C. plain dry bread crumbs
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1/2 C. ketchup
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium low heat.
Add the onions, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are softened and translucent but not brown.
Remove from heat and add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste.
Allow the mixture to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck, onion mixture, bread crumbs, and eggs, and mix lightly with a fork (don’t mash it or the meatloaf will be dense).
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with a wire rack.
Divide the mixture into 6 (10 to 11-ounce each) portions and shape each portion into a small loaf and place the loaves on the wire rack.
Spread about a tablespoon of ketchup on the top of each portion.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the internal temperature is 155 to 160 degrees and the meat loaves are cooked through.
Makes 6 servings.
Source: adapted from Ina Garten