Friday, April 29, 2011

Classic Meat Loaf – Its the American way

I did not know what meat loaf was until one day my Quay Lo (that American guy of mine) introduced this “Very American Thing” to me. From what I read in the “Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink”, meatloaf is the ultimate comfort food, a dish that brings back fond childhood memories for many American families. There are a varieties of preparation ranging from an ordinary meatloaf of just ground beef and chopped onion to one that is enhanced with herbs, flavours and "secret sauce" toppings.

Meatloaf is almost like saying "stew", almost a generic name, in its versatility, and lets the cook exhibit their creativity. Some basic notes however are worth heeding: To get a moist meatloaf, use only soft bread crumbs. To make your meatloaf more attractive, you may consider topping it with mashed potatoes or your favorite cheese. If cheese is used, don’t forget to return the meat loaf to the oven to bake for an extra 5-8 mins to let the cheese melt before serving. Also, be sure to keep any left over’s to use for sandwiches or crumble it in chilli sauce or tomato sauce to serve as an appetizer. My American thinks meatloaf is one of those dishes that ages in the fridge overnight to yield something far better the next day. He also thinks the meat should not be ground too fine. "If you want pate' go to France" is what I think he muttered as discussed the preparation for my first meat loaf.

What follows is a classic meat loaf served with mashed potatoes and brown gravy. No extra ingredients, no tricky flavour enhancements yet the taste is truly like a down to earth home style meatloaf. Yet, I suspect it is almost a holy experience for some Americans. Mine kept pausing, and sighing between mouthfuls, apparently in some kind of rapture and I am thinking what is this? It's just ground beef, it''s not like it's abalone in XO sauce...right?
Largely adapted from Janet Caldwell’s recipe
Classic Meat Loaf
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 egg
1 onion, chopped
1 cup milk
1 cup soft bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bowl, combine the beef, egg, onion, milk and bread OR cracker crumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste and place in a lightly greased 5x9 inch loaf pan, OR form into a loaf and place in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour.

Largely adapted from Linda Larsen
Mashed potatoes
2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup light cream, warmed
1-1/2 tsp. salt
ground black pepper
In a large pot, place potatoes. Cover with cold water by about 1". Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce heat to low and simmer potatoes until tender when pricked with a fork. This should take 20-30 minutes. Drain potatoes in a large colander; shake gently. Return potatoes to the hot dry pot and place over very low heat. Shake potatoes over the heat for 1-2 minutes to dry them. Mash potatoes with a potato masher or put through a ricer. Then stir in butter with spoon until well mixed. Add light cream, salt, and pepper to taste and mix well. Serve immediately or hold over hot water as directed above. 8-10 serving
Brown gravy
For convenience, I use Bisto rich brown a product from Australia. To make the gravy, just follow instruction on the box.


  1. I adore meat loaf, it was always the meal I asked my mum to make for my birthday when she was alive.

    this one looks so good :)

  2. Your meatloaf looks fantastic, so moist and with a nice brown crust. I find that my meatloaf is definitely better the next day, after the flavours have had time to mingle.

  3. Hi, thanks for dropping by my blog :-). Your food pictures look really good; made me drool! THanks for sharing the recipes; may try cooking them someday.

  4. Meatloaf looks super prefect and marvellous..

  5. Looks so delicious. To tell you the truth, I have never made meat loaf even though I live in the states. I know it's probably time to try this recipe. Your picture looks convincing - I just thought meat loaf is such an appetizing dish. I'm going to give it a try soon!

    Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  6. sorry about sending typo message! It's about time to sleep... anyway, I meant meat loaf is NOT appetizing dish.

    Have a great weekend!

  7. Oh Veronica, you crack me up. I had to laugh about abalone in XO sauce. Haha. Meatloaf has always been such a mystery to me. How could one enjoy a loaf of meat so much? I never understood it either. That is until I had a bite of Valerie's meat loaf. That one bite changed the way I view meat loaf. There are so many different recipes out there. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us. I was never a big meat fan, but I now have a new found appreciation for meat loaf.

  8. wow, looks really yummy! Just asking.. won't the ground beef gets too tough after 1hr?

  9. I always associate meatloaf with America, especially American diners.
    Your meatloaf looks delish and so moist.

  10. I must try this in one day, sound so yummy. Have a nice weekend Veron!

  11. I am a fan of meat loaf! it's quick and easy!!! plus good for the budget. ;)

  12. These are really well made! I had the impression that these are also served with some kind of gravy or sauce?

  13. I made meatloaf last September, my mom was horrified when I made it because of the amount of meat. That's sort of explain that I never had meatloaf in my childhood.

    With some ketchup on top, that would make the perfect meatloaf.

  14. I remember my mom when I see meat loaf, she made a lot of these when I was younger!

  15. wow... this is meatlovers' haven. first the rack of lamb and now a meatloaf. You'd really outdone yourself, Veronica! This is really good work!

  16. Yes, meatloaf! My dad (father-in-law)makes the best meatloaf in the world. And yes, we love leftover. Meatloaf sandwich is amazingly good!

  17. quaypo, you're still lucky that you still have your quaylo to introduce and guide you about meatloaf making. I'm totally clueless and unknowledgable about this! All i know is 'meat shaped in loaf form'. I dont eat beef and i dont eat lamb therefore this kind of meatloaf will never have a chance to appear on my table! ha! if i were to substitute ground beef with ground chicken, do you think all the quaypos and quaylos will start shaking their heads and open their mouths in disbelief? i think i better not do that..ruining such a classic and traditional dish that enjoyed by people around the world would be such a shame! nice work here, veron!

  18. Using a ground poultry product is fine. I make turkey meat loaf all the time. Just adjust the seasoning for poultry instead of beef.

  19. OMG!! what happened to my reply to you all??? Aiyoh! I need to write again.

    David: I am sure if you miss your mum a lot. Did you get her recipe on the meat loaf?

    Belle: Oh yes, the meat loaf taste better the next day.

    BoeyJoey: Hope to see your post on meat loaf soon:D

    yummychunklet, Priya,Michael: I would love to think so.

    Nami: hehe, no problem I make typing mistake all the time. I am glad to know my picture looks convincing.

    LeQuan: I am glad Valerie's changed your view on meat loaf. As you can see, even I can make meat loaf and seeing my Quay Lo enjoyed it so much, I am still not a big fan. I prefer my spicy Malaysian food like Nasi Lemak or Assam Laksa lah.. hehe

    Cathy: I followed the recipe and the meat did not turn our tough.

    Sonia: Try it, your kids will love it.

    Ansarap: You must learn how to do that from you mum or perhaps you have already.

    daphne: you are absolutely right.

    Shirley: You can serve with tomato sauce or any other sauce of your choice.

    Victor: My mum got the same reaction when the first time I made it... hehe ... me too, never had meat loaf during my childhood.

    Alan: thanks. When the compliment comes from you, I feel really good because you are my baking and writing idol.

    Reese: Did your Dad pass down the recipe to you, if yes, can share with us?

    Lena: you can substitute ground beef with ground turkey, from what I read, it works well too. You cracked me up when you said the quaylos and quaypos will shake their head, you might be surprise, they will put their two thumbs up instead. hehe

    txcyn: you are right, I read somewhere too that ground turkey loaf taste as good. Thanks for dropping by. Hope to see you around often.

  20. Dear Veronica, I just saw your reply. I have posted my dad's meatloaf recipe on my website a few days ago. Here's the link. It's a New England style meatloaf. Dad said that it is his mother's recipe.

    Let me know if you guys like it!


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