Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Think all-beef meatloaf has to be boring, tough and dry?  Think again.  This recipe, adapted from America's Test Kitchen, proves that beef meatloaf can be light, moist, tender and full of flavor.  There are a lot of ingredients, but if you take the time to make this, I'm sure you'll agree that it's the best meatloaf ever.  Each ingredient is important to the finished product, so don't leave anything out.

All-Beef Glazed Meatloaf
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, January/February 2006
Rating:  10 out of 10

Meat Loaf: 
1-1/2 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, grated on small holes of box grater (about 1/2 cup)
1-1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped celery rib
1/2 tsp. minced or grated garlic
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. tomato juice
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 large egg
1/4 tsp. unflavored powdered gelatin (the secret ingredient to mimic veal)
1-1/2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce  1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/3 cup crushed saltine crackers  1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley leaves
Scant 1/2 tsp. Diamond kosher coarse salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 lb. ground sirloin
1/2 lb. ground chuck

Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375F.  Spread cheese on plate and place in freezer until ready to use.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil.  Next, fold a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil to form a 10 x 6” rectangle.  Center the foil on a metal cooling rack and poke holes in the foil with a skewer about 1/2” apart.  (This will let drippings go through so the meat loaf doesn’t get soggy from sitting in the drippings.)  Place the foil-lined rack over the rimmed baking sheet that you lined with tinfoil.  Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Heat butter in small skillet over medium-high heat until foaming; add onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6-8 minutes.  Add garlic, thyme and paprika and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Reduce heat to low and add tomato juice.  Cook, stirring to scrape up browned bits from pan, until thickened, about 1 minute.  Transfer mixture to small bowl and set aside to cool.

Whisk broth and egg in medium bowl until combined; sprinkle with gelatin and let stand 5 minutes.  Stir in soy sauce, mustard, saltines, parsley, salt, pepper and cooled onion mixture.  Crumble frozen cheese to coarse powder and sprinkle over mixture.  Add ground beef; mix gently with hands until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.  Transfer meat to foil rectangle and shape into loaf.  Smooth top and edges of meat loaf with moistened spatula.  Bake about 1 hour, till an instant-read thermometer registers 135-140F.  Remove from oven and spread with half the glaze.  Turn broiler on high; place meatloaf under broiler about 5 minutes, till glaze bubbles and begins to brown at edges.  Remove from oven, spread with remaining glaze, return to broiler to cook an additional 5 minutes.  Cool about 15 minutes before slicing.
Glaze:  (You can substitute 3/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce, if desired.)
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
2 Tbsp. cup apple cider vinegar
1-1/2 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar

While meat loaf cooks, combine ingredients in saucepan; bring to simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring, until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes.

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