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Old 01-07-2009, 09:18 AM   #31
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Good luck Minion you seem to be asking alot of a Meat Loaf

I never make the same meatloaf twice... what I like about it is you can flavor it any way you want and sort of use what you have on hand. I like to do it sort of middle eastern with dill or mint yogurt sauce on the side or Italian style with tomato sauce cooked on top

I always go free form in a cast iron pot usually in sort of a round dome shape this way I get alot of crispy surface

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Old 01-07-2009, 12:15 PM   #32
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Dang, I am going home at lunch and pulling out a package of ground beef--I WANT MEAT LOAF!!!

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since that house fell on my sister.
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:24 PM   #33
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Good Luck Mignon!

One thought on the egg ... I mix my egg, bread crumbs, milk (I use 2 Tbl) and dry seasonings (I use basil & oregano) before I do anything else and then let it sit. The milk and egg have time to hydrate everything before I add the mixture to my meat and veggie mixture.

We'll be anxiously awaiting the results!
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Old 01-07-2009, 01:28 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by PanchoHambre View Post
I always go free form in a cast iron pot usually in sort of a round dome shape this way I get alot of crispy surface
I'm all for the "crispy surface" too, but I need to divine a way to keep my meatloaf out of the puddle of melted fat that will accumulate. During my earlier readings, one savvy cook stated she placed the meatloaf on a bed of crumpled aluminum foil to keep it out of the oil. Not too elegant, but I guess it'd work.
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Old 01-07-2009, 01:39 PM   #35
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You can put the meatloaf on a rack in a pan.
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Old 01-07-2009, 01:39 PM   #36
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they sell small wire racks that might do the trick. like a backpackers grill.

i do a free form, in a glass baking dish. a small rack would fit nicely.

also, i've found that sweet onions really does the trick in my meatloafs. i haven't seen them in a while, but try to find ny bold sweet onions, or mayan gold sweets.

they're so mild and sweet that you can add them to the meat mixture without sweating or carmelizing.
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Old 01-07-2009, 01:43 PM   #37
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I use torn bread soaked in milk as a binder in my meatloaf and make them free-form, primarily because I love to make pan gravy from the drippings. I bake them on a rack in a glass caserrole dish.
"I’m going to break one of the rules of the trade here. I’m going to tell you some of the secrets of improvisation. Just remember — it’s always a good idea to follow the directions exactly the first time you try a recipe. But from then on, you’re on your own." - James Beard
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Old 01-09-2009, 04:00 PM   #38
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I'm like the guy who didn't know how to swim and finally learned the dog-paddle. Now I want to do a swan dive off a 25' board. I finally made my meatloaf yesterday and had a cold meatloaf sandwich today. It wasn't bad, but I wouldn't invite any of you guys for lunch — not yet. First of all it tasted bland, no zip. The appearance was quite attractive, the top had a nice crust despite the fact I put nothing on it. The grain was good, I succeeded in slicing the loaf without it crumbling.

Unable to conjure up a proper receptacle to cook free-form, I went with my two piece 9x5 meatloaf pan with holed insert. The first lesson I learned was that 1.5 lbs. of meat isn't enough, at least not in my pan. Two pounds would be okay, 2.5 would be better. An egg and half cup of tomato sauce was not enough moisture to cope with .75 of a cup of plain bread crumbs. I ended up tossing in a half cup of my beer to make the mixture more pliable. Had I included the mushrooms and grated cheese suggested by Andy M, the loaf would probably have been more exciting. Let me give you the recipe I went with and solicit further suggestions. Before I forget, let me offer three other other observations. I couldn't taste the Worcester or the Thyme, but I could taste the beer (I liked it). Also, I sautéed the onions and green peppers separately with the Thyme in a tablespoon of olive oil until they were super soft before I introduced them into the mixture (the amount was too subtle, I think). I let the bread crumbs soak in the beaten egg and liquids until the liquids disappeared. The recipe:

I lb. beef + .5 lb. pork.
.75 cup plain bread crumbs
i cup onions,
.5 cup bell pepper,
.5 cup beer
.5 cup tomato sauce
.5 t. Thyme
1 T. Worcester sauce
1 T. Olive oil
S&P to taste
i hour at 350 degrees (maybe 375 would have been better)

Where did I go wrong? Remember, I have no imagination — if you offer suggestions, don't say more, say how much more.
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Old 01-09-2009, 04:14 PM   #39
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I'd go with a smaller amount of bread crumbs and more thyme and Worcestershire. Try double the amounts. Also, try the cheese.

How did you do the vegetation? Did you process it or just chop it up?

A pinch of cayenne pepper and more salt and pepper will help.
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Old 01-09-2009, 04:15 PM   #40
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Okay - if I were going to make your recipe to my taste, this is how I'd amend it - without even changing the amount of meat.

I'd increase the tomato sauce to a cup (aka one 8 oz. can). Or I'd use a small jar of "pizza sauce" for more "zip". I'd also use about a cup, or one small/medium size bell pepper, about a teaspoon of dried thyme (or a tablespoon of chopped fresh), 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, & several dashes of hot sauce (Tabasco or whatever your favorite is), along with several dashes of seasoned salt. Sometimes in place of the hot sauce I use several sprinkles of crushed red pepper flakes. I frequently add up to a cup of grated cheese as well (cheddar, feta, mozzarella, whatever). And of course the egg & bread crumbs (I usually use one cup of commercial seasoned bread crumbs for 1 to 1-1/2 pounds of meat).

And in case you don't want to keep making & trying what might be sub-par meat loaves, here's a tip that I don't think anyone else has mentioned yet. While it adds a little prep time & another pan to wash, it can be worth it when you're experimenting: After you've made your meatloaf mix, heat some oil in a small skillet (or use the one you sauteed your veggies in) & fry up a small "tasting size" patty of your mix. It'll help you tell what you might want to add more of before you cook the whole thing.

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