Meatloaf is a loaf of ground or minced meat mixed with bread and baked. Sounds delectable, doesn't it?
Mixing minced meat with fillers of bread, rice or vegetables is a practice honoured by cooks all over the world. Combining these ingredients serves three main purposes:
- It uses portions of meat left over from a previous meal to prevent them going to waste.
- It makes a smaller portion of meat serve a larger number of people.
- It adds variety to meats to make them more appetising.
In America, the Industrial Revolution of the 19th Century made it possible to produce raw ground meat at an appealingly low cost. The idea was slow to catch on, probably due to unreliable means of refrigeration at the time. Eventually, the companies selling ground meat or meat grinders began producing recipes to promote their products. As a result, the meatloaf was born. Recipes for meatloaf began appearing in cookbooks and magazines in the United States in the 1880s.
Historically, meatloaf has a standard set of ingredients which are more or less interchangable - ground meat, breadcrumbs or pieces of bread, ketchup or tomato paste, milk and any variety of spices and seasonings. A traditional meatloaf dinner is usually accompanied by mashed potatoes and green beans (although carrots are good, too). And one of the best things about having meatloaf for dinner is having meatloaf sandwiches for lunch the next day.
A Fabulous Meatloaf Recipe
- 907g (2lb) lean ground/minced beef
- 170g (6oz) any variety stuffing or dressing mix
- 2 eggs , beaten
- 250ml (1 cup) barbeque sauce
- 250ml (1 cup) water
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C or Gas Mark 5). Mix all ingredients and save half of the barbecue sauce. Shape mixture into two even, oval loaves; place side by side (not touching) in a baking dish. Top loaves with the remaining barbecue sauce, and bake for 35 - 45 minutes, or until loaves are no longer pink in the centre.
One of the great things about meatloaf is that there are so many ways to make it. If you find this recipe not to your liking, change the variety of some of the ingredients: try a differently-seasoned stuffing mix or another brand of barbecue sauce.
It is nearly impossible to ruin a meatloaf, so be adventurous and have fun with it. Experiment with using turkey instead of beef or adding sausage for a portion of the beef, using ketchup instead of barbeque sauce, using breadcrumbs instead of stuffing mix, or milk instead of water.