Though we generally associate meatloaf with American cooking techniques, it’s actually a dish that dates back as far as Roman times, according to Mother Nature Network. However, it’s safe to say that this classic dish has become a staple of American cuisine, perhaps due to its simplicity and heartiness. MNN also notes that meatloaf was popular in the U.S. during the Great Depression and World War II because it was filling, cheap and versatile. That is to say, you can pretty much add anything to meatloaf. This dish can include a wide range of meats, veggies, grains, herbs and spices to create a signature flavor, which means you can use up whatever ingredients are on hand.
This adaptability makes meatloaf an excellent option for both the novice chef and the culinary elite. Takes on this dish can be made with either utilitarian austerity or gastronomic flair, depending on your sensibility. Once you’re comfortable making this dish, the options really become limitless. What’s more you can entirely transform a meatloaf not only with the ingredients in the loaf itself, but also by developing a signature glaze.
Below is a basic meatloaf recipe from Food Republic:
- 1 pound freshly ground chuck (80 percent lean)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 level teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
For the glaze
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
- A few dashes Tabasco sauce
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
-In a large bowl, mix together all of the main ingredients except those set aside for the glaze. Food Republic notes that its meatloaf recipe is comparable to a blank canvas, and additional ingredients may be added to preference. For example, you may want to include diced green peppers, onions or a medley of herbs and spices to develop a more personalized dish. If you mix the ingredients for too long, your loaf will turn out less fluffy.
-Line a baking sheet with foil, then use your hands to shape the meatloaf.
-In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the glaze.
-Spread the glaze over the meatloaf evenly. Then place the meatloaf in the oven.
-Bake the meatloaf for 45 minutes, and then allow to cool on the stovetop for 15 minutes.
Pro tip: If you have a hot sauce you’re particularly fond of, consider subbing it in for the Tabasco to get the heat and flavor you desire.