Mom’s Meatloaf

For many people, meatloaf does not conjure fond food memories.   It seems as if everyone’s mom made meatloaf, but it was a dish to be tolerated rather than appreciated.    Perhaps I am alone on this, but I absolutely loved my mother’s meatloaf.  It was moist and not too dense, and paired with her mushroom gravy, was absolutely delicious.  On a chilly winter evening, it was comfort food at its best.

Over the years I’ve experimented with many different meatloaf recipes.  I tried various versions of turkey meatloaf, which were okay, but tended to be dry and not very flavorful.  I’ve also tried using mixtures of various meats (ground beef, pork, and veal), as is often used in meatballs.  The result was good, but I guess for me, it just didn’t taste like home.   A friend of mine told me her mother stuffs the meatloaf with different cheeses and meats, almost like a braciole.  That was my favorite variation, but it was a bit more labor intensive than I was used to for meatloaf.  Despite all my experimentation,  I always return to my mom’s recipe and I’m never disappointed.

I have made a few changes to the gravy, but the essence is still the same.  She always used a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup as the base for hers, and it really was always delicious.  However, in an attempt to use fewer processed ingredients, I developed my own version using fresh crimini mushrooms in a brown, broth-based gravy thickened with a roux.  It can be easily prepared on the stovetop as the meatloaf cooks in the oven. 

To make a simple side dish, I chop up some carrots and potatoes (I love Yukon Gold, but regular white or red varieties will do just fine) and toss them right into the roasting pan alongside the meatloaf.  Add a fresh green salad and some hot buttermilk biscuits and you’ll create some food memories for your family!

Mom’s Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy

Serves 4-6

 For Meatloaf:

2 lbs lean ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup milk
¼ plus ¼ cups ketchup
1 teaspoon dried mustard
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 small onion, grated on a box grater)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

 For Gravy:

3 tablespoons olive oil or butter

5 oz crimini mushrooms, chopped (also sold as “Baby Bellas”)

3 tablespoons flour

1 cup chicken or beef broth

salt and pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine all meatloaf ingredients except additional ¼ cup of ketchup in a large bowl.
Shape into a loaf-shape and place in a baking pan.
Smooth remaining ketchup over the top of the loaf.
Bake for approximately 1 hour, or until completely cooked through.
Allow to stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

To make the gravy, heat olive oil in a saucepan and add mushrooms.  Saute until softened. 

Add flour and stir to combine.  Cook for a couple of minutes to get the rawness out of the flour.

Add broth and whisk vigorously.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until thickened, while whisking frequently. 

Add an extra tablespoon of flour if gravy isn’t thick enough and whish well. 

Serve over meatloaf.


 

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2 Responses to “Mom’s Meatloaf”

  1. paula Says:

    sounds good! i think it is time to start
    to enjoy some meat again and meatloaf is
    a great place to begin! ‘everything in moderation’ really is a decent idea.

  2. Tracy Says:

    My mom emailed me to say I left something out of her recipe—-she added two pieces of bread, torn into one inch pieces. She said this helped to make the meatloaf particularly tender. I didn’t add this when I made this recipe last, but will be sure to change it in my notes. So, you can do the same. 🙂

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