Thursday, March 1, 2012


Meat loaf – the way to a man’s heart.  I’m  not sure why they love it so, but they do.  Making it can be a pain, trying to find the ground veal and ground pork to give it a softer texture.   And an all-beef meat loaf tends to be tough, dry and rough textured.  What a dilemma!  Until now.  Cook’s Illustrated printed a recipe in their January/February 2006 magazine that revolutionized the process.  They reported they went through 260 pounds of beef to find the best way to lighten the loaf.  I tried it, and it works.  So well, in fact, that my hubby declared it to be the best meat loaf he ever ate.  I, also, was amazed at the very light texture, ultra-moistness and fabulous taste.
All-Beef Glazed Meatloaf
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, January/February 2006
Rating:  10 out of 10

Meat Loaf: 
3 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, grated on small holes of box grater (about 1 cup)
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 medium celery rib, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium garlic clove, minced or grated (about 1 tsp.)
2 tsp. minced fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. unflavored powdered gelatin (their secret ingredient to mimic veal)
1 Tbsp. soy sauce (I used low-sodium)
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2/3 cup crushed saltine crackers (I used Keebler club crackers)
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley leaves
3/4 tsp. table salt (I used a generous 3/4 tsp. Diamond kosher coarse salt)
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 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 10” 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 eggs in large bowl until combined.  Sprinkle gelatin over liquid and let stand 5 minutes.  Stir in soy sauce, mustard, saltines, parsley, salt, pepper and onion mixture.  Crumble frozen cheese into 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 10x6” oval about 2” high.  (I divided mixture evenly into 3 loaves.  I froze two loaves and baked one.  These were slightly more than 1 lb. each, a perfect size for two people, allowing for a hot meal and several sandwiches.)  Smooth top and edges of meat loaf with moistened spatula. 
Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of loaf reads 135 to 140 degrees, 55-65 minutes.  (The 1-lb loaves will take about 45 minutes.)  Remove meat loaf from oven and turn broiler on.  Spread half of glaze evenly over cooked meat loaf with rubber spatula; place under broiler and cook until glaze bubbles and begins to brown at edges, about 5 minutes.  Remove meat loaf from oven and spread evenly with remaining glaze; place back under broiler and cook until glaze is again bubbling and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes more.  Let meat loaf cool about 20 minutes before slicing.  (Let 1-lb. loaves cool about 10 minutes before slicing.)  Yield:  6-8 servings
  (You can substitute 3/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce, if desired.)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 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.


Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I love meat loaf, this sounds so yummy. Thanks for this. Diane

Pat Palmer said...

Every post of yours makes me want to try the recipe. I'm definitely going to make this one. A moist meatloaf is hard to beat--and I agree that a 1 lb loaf is just right for two people---one meal and sandwiches. Sounds so good.

teresa said...

what a beautiful and delicious meatloaf!

Claudia said...

Saltines and cheese and 3 types of meat? My husband would eat the entire loaf!

Denise said...

I love meatloaf! That looks fabulous. It's on my list for Sunday dinner!

Judy said...

Claudia, There's only 1 meat,beef, but your hubby would still eat the entire loaf, I promise.

amy @ fearless homemaker said...

this sounds awesome! i love meatloaf + this version looks delicious. will definitely have to try it!