Our Country Kitchen
For us, sometimes we just want a recipe that screams homemade comfort food – and you’ll find no better recipe than this ‘Comfort Food Meatloaf’ to fit the bill. We use high quality Goodparla ground beef mixed with some of the most classic ingredients to make this incredible meatloaf that will have you coming back for seconds! Topped with a tangy glaze and stuffed with sauteed garlic, onions and mushrooms, this meatloaf is plate-lickin’-good and just one of our family’s many favorites.
Meatloaf: An Origins Story… (aka fun facts)
While many might claim that the United States created the all-time comfort food of meatloaf, that’s not necessarily true. According to Wikipedia, “Meatloaf is a traditional German, Scandinavian and Belgian dish, and it is a cousin to the Dutch meatball.” However, the American meatloaf was born courtesy of Pennsylvanian Dutch settlers in the 18th century using a mixture of ground pork and cornmeal known as scrapple.
However, when we (and most other Americans) think of meatloaf, the thought is of a homemade dish that only mom could ever seem to cook right. The Great Depression is what really brought meatloaf into most homes, as it allowed families to stretch the small portions of food they had into a meal that would feed all the hungry mouths in the home.
Either way, we’ve come to love meatloaf and while there are many different takes on this classic dish., this dish is a great recipe to have in your back pocket and takes simple, uncomplicated ingredients and makes a truly delicious home-cooked meal with minimal effort.
A meatloaf by any other name…
… Would most definitely still be a meatloaf (thank you Shakespeare for the illuminating reference!). No matter the variations of this classic recipe, there are basic requirements for making a meatloaf. Keep reading to see how Goodparla uses these recipe staples.
The Meat : no matter how you prepare it, your meatloaf will always need some type of ground meat. Nowadays, we can find ourselves inundated with the choices from ground beef, ground pork, ground turkey or chicken and don’t even get us started on the ‘meatless’ varieties! Regardless of all of the options, our meatloaf contains either two pounds of Goodparla’s grass-fed Missouri ground beef OR a mixture of Goodparla’s grass-fed Missouri ground beef and pork/sausage.
If you opt to do the ground beef and pork mixture, we recommend using a 60-40 split – meaning, 60% ground beef and 40% ground pork. Adding the pork boosts your meatloaf’s flavor and texture to the next level. Also, the higher fat content makes sure that your meatloaf won’t dry out during its long cooking time and if you’ve ever had a dry meatloaf dinner, you know it can be most unpalatable.
The Binding Agents: All meatloaf recipes need some sort of binding agents. While this might sound fancy, it really boils down to using some sort of breadcrumbs or panko mixed with the egg and milk. Adding these to the meat helps the loaf take and keep its shape- otherwise, you’re going to have a crumbly mess that falls apart. The egg specifically adds flavor, richness and moisture into your loaf while the milk helps to moisten your breadcrumbs to avoid it becoming too dry or having a gritty texture (yuck!).
When it comes to choosing breadcrumbs versus panko, it all boils down to preference or might just depend on what you have in the pantry. Panko and breadcrumbs can be used interchangeably as both items serve the same purpose. Sometimes you’ll find us experimenting with different types of seasoned breadcrumbs or panko and encourage you to do the same! For this specific recipe, we used traditional Italian breadcrumbs.
The Mix-ins: This is where you really get your creative juices flowing in any meatloaf recipe. You can add different veggies in your meatloaf, and we have seen recipes that have anything from onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery, and even raisins (we’ve never tried this so we can’t recommend it). For this recipe, we stick to the basics of sauteed garlic, onions and mushrooms for a real classic taste. We always recommend sautéing, as this helps the meatloaf’s consistency and flavor.
The Spices: Now with any meatloaf recipe, this is where you can make your recipe a little more personalized and have standout flavors. The classics of course are Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and/or tomato paste, basil and oregano (or Italian seasoning), salt and pepper. You’ll find so many combinations of these and different spices out there, so you can make an almost new meatloaf recipe each time.
We like to keep the seasonings rather basic and let all the flavors and goodness come from the meat and the combination of such simple, yet tasty ingredients. To prepare our meat loaf mixture, we add in Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, basil, oregano and crushed red pepper flakes. Don’t be afraid to add the red pepper flakes – we promise it doesn’t make this dish spicy at all!
The Glaze: Most meatloaf recipes call for the raw loaf to be topped with some sort of ketchup or BBQ sauce or even a combination of the two before going into the oven. However, we have a slightly different take on this. We cook our loaf for about 40 minutes before pulling it out and topping it with a glaze made from ketchup, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. We then put it back in the oven to create a sticky, amazingly tangy and flavorful topping that pairs perfectly with all the over flavors.
We can’t stress enough how amazing this version is and even if you change everything else in the recipe, doing the glaze as-is is a definite must!
Choosing the right pan
We have seen meatloaf recipes that call for a traditional 9x5 loaf pan, rimmed baking sheets, baking dishes and more, so it can be a bit difficult to know which one is going to give you the results you want. While we can’t necessarily outright say the *best* method, we do know our preferred method for our recipe.
We start out in a traditional 9x5 loaf pan. We feel this really helps us to evenly shape and mold our meatloaf. And while you certainly can cook the meatloaf in this pan for the duration of the cook time, we don’t recommend it, as you will find your meatloaf to be a bit greasy. While cooking, the meat releases grease and if its trapped in the pan, with no where to go, it goes back into the meat and makes an otherwise tasty meal into a heavy grease trap.
To avoid this, we cook the meatloaf for the first 40 minutes in the loaf pan and then switch pans. Take a baking sheet with a slight rim, as you will have grease leak-off from the loaf, and cover in foil – trust us, you’ll thank us during clean-up later. After the 40-minute mark, remove the meatloaf from the oven and turn it out onto the foiled sheet pan. You can dab some of the excess grease from the baking sheet with a paper towel, but that is completely up to you. Now top the loaf with the glaze and spread evenly on top, allowing the glaze to run down the sides. This is another big reason we switch pans, as well – we really want that amazing glaze to be all over the outside of the meatloaf.
Now that you’ve become an expert in all things meatloaf, let’s tie our aprons, put on our chef hats and whip up this fantastically delicious comfort food meatloaf!
Comfort Food Meatloaf Recipe
ADD PICTURE OF DINNER PLATE WITH MEATLOAF
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 1 hour | Serves: 6 to 8
- 2 pounds Goodparla Ground beef OR 1.25 lbs. Goodparla Ground Beef & .75 lbs. ground pork or sausage
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 3 to 4 baby Bella mushrooms, diced
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- ½ cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350℉. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Also prepare a baking sheet with foil for use in step 5.
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a medium frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the ground beef/pork, breadcrumbs, milk, egg, Worcestershire sauce, salt, basil, oregano, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Mix thoroughly with either a wooden spoon or your hands (we prefer the knead by hand method as it ensures the meat mixture is well coated). Add the sauteed onions, garlic and mushrooms and mix throughout.
- Put meat into the loaf pan and place loaf pan on top of the baking sheet covered in foil and bake for 40 minutes.
- After 40 minutes, pull the meat from the oven and set the oven temperature to 400℉. Turn the loaf pan over to empty the meatloaf onto the baking sheet.
- Prepare the glaze by mixing ketchup, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce together in a small bowl. Spread evenly on top of the meatloaf, allowing for some of the glaze to drip down the sides.
- Put meatloaf back into the oven and cook for an additional 20 to 25 minutes.