GUEST POST: AS AMERICAN AS MEATLOAF

Today’s guest post comes to us from my sister-in-law, Rachel Formaro – this one’s all about a Formaro family favorite… good ol’ American meatloaf.

Growing up British-Canadian, I can’t remember a time that my mum ever made meatloaf. To me, the whole idea of meatloaf epitomized a traditional American (or Canadian) family meal – something that was enjoyed in a kitchen with avocado appliances and a vinyl tablecloth. Very Brady Bunch.

Which brings into question (rather sharply) why did I even attempt to make meatloaf for my husband and my in-laws, especially when I hadn’t even tasted meatloaf before. Did I mention that the recipe is one that my brother-in-law George (yes, the James Beard nominated chef) has reverse-engineered out of the memories of his mother’s meatloaf? Perhaps it comes down to a sense of adventure and knowing that there were new memories to be had from the experience. And it didn’t hurt that my husband Tom’s watchful eye helped in the process – is that how crispy it should be, how dark it should be, etc.

I asked Tom how did their mother (who was born and raised in Sicily and had moved here in her 30s) even come to make something as American-apple-pie as meatloaf? Did he, his brothers and sister pester her for it to the point of submission? The answer appears to be it was the influence of her Italian-American in-laws (her husband’s parents were Calabrese and had immigrated to the US in the early 1900s). Whether it was her mother-in-law’s recipe or another family member is still in question. How fitting then, that I should attempt to make it for my Italian-American in-laws.

Fortunately, there are no complicated ingredients. The key to the meatloaf seems to be in the baking time. I had underestimated how long it would take. This is not a get-home-from-work-30-min recipe. But it is certainly worth the wait. Perfect for a Sunday evening supper.

We had a simple side of corn on the cob and I had thrown in a few thinly sliced potatoes in with the baking pan – turned out nice and crispy. And apparently in the case of meatloaf, everyone is a fan of the “heel”!

With George’s permission, here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cans vegetable soup (Campbell’s)
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 or 3 eggs (I used 2)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 leaves fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 small onion grated
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic granulated
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Additional ketchup for brushing on top

Place all the ingredients in the bowl and mix them up; the more you mix, the firmer the meatloaf will be.

Preheat your oven to 375. Oil your roasting pan or baking pan and put aside. You’ll need to have the kind of pan that has a cover, or I guess you could cover with foil.

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl. The more you mix it the firmer it is.

Meatloaf ready for the oven.

Shape into 2 loaves and place into oiled covered aluminum baking pan and rub the top with oil.

Bake covered for about one hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 170.

Remove cover, brush the tops with a generous amount of ketchup and cook uncovered for 30 minutes or more, until a crust forms on the bottom to your liking.

Serve a slice or two along with your side dish.

The finished product – a great dish for Sunday dinners at home!

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