Individual, mini meatloaves offer a shorter cooking time for almost-instant gratification. Italian bread, Parmigiano-Reggiano, fresh parsley and bits of peppery garlic replace store bought bread crumbs. And lean ground beef is made moist and flavorful by replacing the saturated fat (found in ground chuck) with fruity olive oil.
Yields: 6 patties
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Allergy info: soy-free; contains wheat, gluten, dairy
Fancy equipment: food processor
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and minced
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cups shredded Italian bread
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1.5 pounds lean ground beef
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. brown sugar
In a food processor add shredded bread; pulse to form fine crumbs. In a medium skillet heat 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and thyme; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 6 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Stir in breadcrumbs; cook, stirring frequently, until breadcrumbs are toasted. Remove from heat, let cool 10 minutes.
Return bread mixture to food processor. Add cheese, parsley, salt and pepper; pulse until well incorporated. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl add beef, bread mixture, egg, tomato paste, vinegar and sugar. Using a fork, mix ingredients until well combined but still loose. Do not mix with hands as it will compact and compress the meat.
Divide meat mixture into 6 patties. Preheat a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties; cook 3 minutes or until well browned. Turn patties and place skillet in the oven. Cook 20 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer placed in the middle of the patties registers 150.
Remove skillet from oven; let stand 10 minutes. Serve meatloaves warm with balsamic-marinated tomatoes, arugula and mashed potatoes.
Neat things you should know:
- During the Great Depression it was popular to add cereal grains to the meatloaf to stretch the meat
- Many meatloaf recipes are interchangeable with meatball recipe.
- Serious Eats declared October 18th as National Meatloaf Appreciation Day
- In the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution made it possible for ground meat to be manufactured and sold to the public at a very low cost. A late 19th century recipe for "Meat Porcupine" instructed cooks to press her ground meat into an animal-type shape mold and decorate it with pieces of bacon.
- "Frosted meatloaf" is ground beef covered with mashed potatoes.
Dawn Viola is a professional food writer, recipe developer, and the voice behind the award-winning food blog, Wicked Good Dinner.
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