I wish I could take credit for inventing this simple recipe for a meatloaf that’s so good…confirmed meatloaf haters will come back for seconds. At one dinner party, a skinny runner who’s obsessed with his weight came back for more three times (he passed on dessert, which, considering, was fair enough). I found it in The New York Times Magazine one Sunday several years ago–it was included in Jonathan Reynolds’ food essay, and he attributed it to Oliver Clark, then wrote about it again in his book Wrestling with Gravy: A Life, With Food, now available (and recommended by me!) in paperback. This is a perfect dish to serve to a crowd, and I think it is the ideal Sunday dinner with Oven-Roasted Crispy Potatoes, mashed potatoes (homemade, of course) or a simple pasta-and-tomato-sauce side. I like to roast Romas on a cookie sheet in a very low oven with some olive oil, salt and pepper until they’re soft and sauce-y, and dump them over some penne. Add a salad and some Chocolate Pudding (homemade, of course) and consider this the ultimate comfort-food meal.
(serves 6 or more)
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
4 T olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped fine
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 large portobello mushroom caps, chopped fine
1 green pepper, chopped fine (I sometimes leave this out, your choice)
2 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork or sausage meat (I usually use hot Italian sausage from my supermarket that I remove from its casings)
1 cup unflavored bread crumbs
1/2 t. onion powder
1 t. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 T ketchup
1 T mayonnaise
2 T whipped cream cheese (don’t use non-whipped)
1/2 pound bacon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Saute garlic in 2 tablespoons of oil till lightly brown and onions till translucent. Remove to a bowl. Add a dash of salt and pepper.
Saute mushrooms in the remaining oil until water is released, about 2 minutes, and remove them to the bowl. Add more salt and pepper.
In a bowl, place verything except the eggs and bacon. Paw at it with two forks, combining thoroughly but not overmixing.
Mix in the eggs and the ingredients of the first bowl.
Bake in the oven for an hour.
Midway through the baking time, saute the bacon till half-cooked, then adorn the meatloaf with it and finish cooking. (NOTE: I usually place uncooked bacon across the whole meatloaf before putting in the oven, and I use enough to blanket the top–each person gets a slice topped with a slice of crispy bacon (why not?). There’s a lot of fat at the bottom of the pan at the end of the hour, but just remove the meatloaf and make a slice with each piece of bacon, which is super crisp and yummy.)