Hey, suddenly it’s December again… and in a few weeks we are going to celebrate Christmas. Let’s get yourself in the Christmas mood.
Apart from holidays and parties, the great thing about Christmas is the food. It’s an excuse for total indulgence in everything from meat to ice cream.
It’s also a good time to get your apron out and try making something yourself. Even someone like me with minimal cooking skills, enjoys cooking at Christmas. And this year, I’ve even promised to cook a special dish for Christmas dinner.
My daughter has been ‘nagging’ me to cook something special for this year Christmas dinner. I was thinking of cooking ‘Frog Chicken’ (please see my earlier post on ‘frog chicken or ayam kodok’). But so far I have not got the time to practice deboning the chicken – the hard part of cooking ‘Frog Chicken’ so how can I cook ‘frog chicken’?
Then my daughter came with an idea. She said ‘why don’t you just cook Meatloaf so you don’t have to trouble yourself to debone the chicken’
Well, good idea….I think I can cook Meatloaf.
As always, whenever I want to cook or write something, I have the habit of going to visit my best friend ‘Google’ for advice. When I click Google, I typed meatloaf by adding a space between Meat and Loaf’ so I found ‘Meat Loaf – I’d Do Anything for Love’ (But I won’t Do That).
Hey, what is it?
It turned out that ‘I’d Do Anything for Love’ is a popular song composed and written by Jim Steinman, and recorded by Meat Loaf, an American Rock Musician and Actor.
Well, although it was a mistake, this finding has given me a kind of a sign that Meatloaf is the best choice for our Christmas dinner this year and as the song said ‘Id Do Anything for Love = cooking Meatloaf for my family’ but I won’t do That = go through the trouble to debone a chicken’ 🙂
More about Meatloaf (not Meat Loaf)
Meatloaf is a dish of ground meat formed into a loaf shape and baked or smoked. The loaf shape is formed by either cooking it in a loaf pan, or forming it by hand on a flat baking pan. It is usually made from ground beef, although lamb, pork, veal, venison, and poultry or a combination are also used.
Many meatloaf recipes are interchangeable with meatball recipes, the distinction coming from shape and from the accompaniments or choice of sauce. Sometimes tomato sauce or ketchup is in the meat and baked along with the meat.
Meatloaf is a versatile dish. The ground meat may be mixed with a binder such as eggs and breadcrumbs, small pieces of bread soaked in milk (or red wine or another liquid), or wheat germ, finely ground almonds, or oatmeal, to make it more dough-like.
Salt, spices and herbs (such as parsley), as well as chopped vegetables (such as onions, green peppers and celery), may also be added.
Some recipes add strips of bacon on top. Meatloaves may be filled with eggs, cheese, vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, or a combination of these ingredients.
A regular oven is not required. Meatloaf can be cooked in a slow cooker or in a microwave oven. For cooking in a microwave oven, it is best cooked in individual portions (for instance, in a mug) or as a small loaf
The following is the step by step from preparation to cooked meatloaf :
Step 1: ground beef
Step 2: mix in the chopped onion, garlic and other ingredients
Step 3: add in the egg
Step 4: pour in breadcrumbs and flour
Step 5: shape the meat mixture into a rounded loaf shape
Step 6: Bake in the oven for 50 – 60 minutes
Step 7: slice and serve
The meatloaf is normally served warm as part of the main course, but can also be found sliced as a cold cut. Meatloaves can also be considered as a typical Midwestern comfort food or even soul food.
5 Tips for Mastering Meatloaf
You’d be hard-pressed to find a food that looks and tastes more like home than meatloaf. But the next time you’re hankering for a taste of this ultimate comfort food, try adding some new techniques to your favorite recipe. These tips will help you take your loaf from homey to heavenly.
- Use a light hand when mixing; overworking the mix makes for tough meatloaf.
- Moisten your hands lightly with a thin coat of oil when mixing so the meat doesn’t stick to your fingers.
- Check seasonings by frying up a small patty of the mixture and tasting it.
- You can make meatloaf either in a loaf pan or free-form. Free-form meatloaves have a crust all around; loaf-pan meatloaves have a more “steamed” texture. It’s strictly a matter of preference.
- Let your meatloaf rest for about 10 minutes after it comes out of the oven; it will hold together better when slicing.
I found so many meatloaf recipes but this classic one looks interesting to try:
Alton’s Good Eats Meatloaf (from Foodnetwork.com)
- 6 ounces garlic-flavored croutons
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and broken
- 3 whole cloves garlic
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 18 ounces ground chuck
- 18 ounces ground sirloin
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg
For the glaze:
- 1/2 cup catsup
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Dash Worcestershire sauce
- Dash hot pepper sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a food processor bowl, combine croutons, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and thyme. Pulse until the mixture is of a fine texture.
- Place this mixture into a large bowl. Combine the onion, carrot, garlic, and red pepper in the food processor bowl. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped, but not pureed.
- Combine the vegetable mixture, ground sirloin, and ground chuck with the bread crumb mixture.
- Season the meat mixture with the salt. Add the egg and combine thoroughly, but avoid squeezing the meat.
- Pack this mixture into a 10-inch loaf pan to mold the shape of the meatloaf. Onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, turn the meatloaf out of the pan onto the center of the tray.
- Insert a temperature probe at a 45 degree angle into the top of the meatloaf. Avoid touching the bottom of the tray with the probe. Set the probe for 155 degrees.
- Combine the catsup, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and honey.
- Brush the glaze onto the meatloaf after it has been cooking for about 10 minutes.
I am looking forward to trying out this recipe on Christmas Day for our family dinner…and I promise I will share whatever experience I will encounter when I cook meatloaf for Christmas dinner in one of my next posts.