One of my favourite things to cook is a meatloaf. Cooking a meatloaf comes with a few advantages. Firstly, it is really easy to cook. You just have to acquire and arrange all the ingredients in an orderly fashion, mix them together and cook it in the oven for the right time at the right temperature. Secondly, it can be extremely flexible, meaning that it can be cooked with any kind of meat you like, with any topping or sauce of your choice. Lastly, it is hassle free because most of the cooking takes place in the oven. So if you have guests to entertain or other things to do at home you can easily pop it in the oven, go about doing your stuff and by dinner time a delicious meal will be ready.
My favourite version of the meatloaf is the one I cook with finely minced pork topped with a sweet and tangy homemade tomato sauce. As I mentioned before cooking a meatloaf offers a great deal of flexibility. It can be made with minced beef, pork, lamb or even a combination of multiple meats. However, the only important thing to note is that you should get your butcher to make the mince meat in a ratio of 80:20 i.e. 80% lean meat and 20% fat. This will ensure your meatloaf remains moist, juicy and flavourful. If your mince meat comprises of too little fat it could end up as a very dry end product. Feel free to experiment with the toppings. One of the most convenient and popular toppings is plain tomato ketchup. If you’re feeling indulgent you can even use bacon. You may also opt out of a topping and make a sauce instead which maybe tomato based, mushroom based or even a homemade barbeque sauce. Here’s my favourite recipe:
For the meatloaf.
1. Pork mince at a lean meat to fat ratio of 80:20 – 1 kg.
2. Eggs – 2.
3. Milk – 1/2 cup.
4. Fine breadcrumbs – 1 cup.
5. Garlic cloves chopped into fine pieces – 6 – 8 cloves.
6. Fresh parsley chopped.
7. Salt and pepper to taste.
For the topping.
1. Fresh and ripe medium sized tomatoes – 5, peeled and chopped into pieces.
2. Fresh garlic paste – 2 tablespoon.
3. Onion – 1 medium sized.
4. Chilli flakes – To taste.
5. Salt, pepper and sugar – To taste.
1. Spread the mince meat on a large container making a crater in the middle.
2. Break the two eggs into the crater and mix it in evenly.
3. Next add the milk and breadcrumbs. Mix evenly. The eggs and breadcrumbs will help keep the loaf nice and firm which will help it to hold its shape.
4. Then add the garlic and chopped parsley and ensure that they are well spread out throughout the minced meat.
5. Finally add the seasoning. Be sure to taste a bit of the mixture so that it does not turn out to be under seasoned when cooked.
6. Mould the meat in the shape of a long loaf of bread in a baking tray.
7. In a preheated oven bake the loaf at a temperature of 180 deg. celcius for 30 mins.
1. In a saucepan take about 1 tablespoons of olive oil.
2. Chop up the onion. On low heat begin to brown the chopped onion. Make sure the heat in low during the entire process. This will allow the onion to caramelise and the sugars of the onion to break down. But do not allow the onion to turn black which would mean that it has been burnt.
3. Remove the onion and allow it to cool down. Once it has cooled down blitz it up into a fine paste in grinder.
4.In the same saucepan take a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the garlic paste.
5. Once the garlic is a little cooked add in the tomato.
6. As soon as the tomatoes take on a saucy consistency add in the brown onion paste. This will add a nice char-y sweetness to the topping.
7. Add the seasoning and a pinch or two of sugar. Let the mixture reduce to a thick sauce. Check for seasoning and finally add the chilli flakes.
1. Once the meatloaf has finished baking bring it out carefully. At this point you can stick a knife into the middle to check if it has cooked through. If it goes in smoothly and comes out clean you’ll know the meatloaf is done.
2. Carefully spread the thick sauce evenly on the top surface of the meatloaf.
3. Put the meatloaf back into the oven for ten minutes on broiler mode and turn up the heat to 200 degree Celcius.
4. After ten minutes the sauce will have become a charred, sticky, sweet and spicy topping.
5. Let the meatloaf cool down a bit and then begin slicing.
6. Enjoy your meatloaf by itself or with veggies on the side for a wholesome meal.