Meat Loaf

This is comfort food at its best. Serve it with mashed potatoes (smooth or lumpy – it’s up to you) and a green salad. You can also shape the meat into patties and make burgers if your family prefers. Leftover meat loaf makes wonderful sandwiches; crumbled, it can be added to beef chili.

Serves 6 to 8.

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped
2 to 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed (optional)
2½ pounds ground beef
1½ cups fresh bread crumbs (3 slices good-quality bread)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup tomato ketchup or barbecue sauce, plus additional for the top
½ cup chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves
¼ cup Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place a large skillet over medium heat and when it is hot, add the oil. Add the onion and garlic, if desired, and cook until golden, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. Place the ground beef, bread crumbs, eggs, ¾ cup ketchup, parsley, mustard, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Mix by hand until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Add the cooled onion mixture and mix again.

4. Divide the mixture in half and form into two logs. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the remaining ketchup over the top of each. (You can cover and freeze the meat loaves for up to 3 months.)

5. Place the loaves on a baking sheet, transfer to the oven, and bake until the meat is cooked throughout and the top is deeply browned, about 40 minutes. Let the meat loaf sit for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

For turkey meat loaf substitute an equal amount of ground turkey for the ground beef and add an extra egg.
For beef meat loaf, try adding one of the following: ¼ cup prepared horseradish, or 4 slices chopped prosciutto, or 2 teaspoons Vietnamese chili garlic sauce.

From Warehouse to Your House: More than 250 Simple, Spectacular Recipes to Cook, Store, and Share When You Buy in Quantity (Simon & Schuster, 2006)