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Monday, November 30, 2009

Best Ever Meat Loaf

Let's face it: most people don't find meat loaf all that exciting. This recipe has changed all of that for my family. With a couple of exceptions, we all look forward to this dinner. It's a good winter meal because it's hearty. We have actually served this to guests with very favorable results.

There are a variety of ways to serve it. Bob likes to dress up the meatloaf by putting it on a thick-sliced piece of French bread, grilled with butter and parmesan cheese on it. He then drizzles a little barbecue sauce over the top. At other times, we serve it with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy for true comfort food. It's also a substantial meal on its own with a salad or side of mixed vegetables.

This recipe makes quite a lot. We make it in our industrial-size loaf pan that is roughly equivalent to two standard loaf pans. Our family eats about three quarters of this in one meal. If you're cooking for fewer people, you  may want to reduce the recipe. But be sure to make enough so that you have leftovers for meatloaf sandwiches!

Best Ever Meatloaf

3 Tbs. butter
¾ cup onion, finely chopped
¾ cup green onion, finely chopped
½ cup carrots, finely chopped
¼ cup celery, finely chopped
¼ cup red bell pepper, minced
¼ cup green bell pepper, minced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 eggs, well beaten
½ cup ketchup
½ cup half-and-half
2 pounds lean ground beef chuck
12 ounces sausage meat (we like Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage)
¾ cup fine fresh bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt the butter in a heavy skillet, and add the onion, scallions, carrots, celery, bell peppers and garlic. Cook until the moisture from the vegetables has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
Combine the black pepper, white pepper, cayenne, cumin, nutmeg and eggs in a mixing bowl, and beat well. Add the ketchup and half and half. Blend thoroughly. Add the ground beef, sausage and bread crumbs to the egg mixture. Then add the chilled vegetables and mix thoroughly with your hands.

Place the mixture evenly in a large loaf pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 60 minutes or until brown all the way through. Remove from oven; let rest for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

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