In our home, meatloaf is and has always been a stand-out family fav. Usually, I just make my Grandma’s meatloaf. It’s simple, no-fuss, no-frills, but it’s the best meatloaf I’ve ever tasted. It’s a relatively short list of ingredients, and it’s fairly simple to throw together, but whenever I’m asked for the recipe I have to explain that there actually isn’t one.
Do you have any idea how long it took for me to learn how to make my Grandma’s meatloaf?! There was no. recipe. This meant that any time I wanted to make meatloaf, or she was making up a batch for the freezer, I would pack up my Costco-sized packages of ground beef, and the other ingredients I needed, and go over to her house and stand in the kitchen for hours watching her ‘eyeball’ ingredients as she casually threw everything together into a giant bowl. The only part I was allowed to partici[pate in was getting my hands dirty and smooshing ans squishing everything together. I was an excellent meatloaf masher ?
After several months of ‘eyeballing’ she must have seen something that told her I was ready for the next step. The next meatloaf day I showed up energized, packing my lean ground beef, and ready to finally give it a go. This lasted through like two ingredients before she ended up taking over and just doing it herself. She said it was easier. This happened every time. Every. time. Do you have any idea how frustrating this was? Yes, I’d end up taking home several great meatloafs, but I couldn’t make them at my own house or by myself. It was beyond me (and totally out of my comfort zone at the time) to experiment by throwing various amounts of food stuffs into a bowl full of hamburger meat and hoping for the best, or knowing when to add more liquidy stuffs and when you needed more dry crap. I thought it was hopeless, and resigned myself to my Grandma making, or taking over making, my meatloaves for the rest of my life. But, Grandma’s been gone for almost 6 years now and it turns out, that unbeknownst to me, she knew what she was doing. Even without a recipe, I can whip up a kick ass meatloaf, and I cherish all those memories of us in her kitchen that I might not have had as an adult without all our meatloaf days. Somewhere along the way, I observed enough to interpret and absorb her secret meatloaf makin’ ways
For the onions:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 onions, halved and thinly sliced
½ Tablespoon fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup beef broth
For the meatloaf:
2 lbs lean ground beef
½ cup bread crumbs (gluten free if needed)
2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish, optional
For the sauce :
2½ cups beef broth
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
salt & pepper, to taste
For the onions :
Heat oil in a skillet over medium, add onions, salt & pepper, cook 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently or until caramelized.
Add thyme, sauté for minute or two, then add the beef broth.
For the meatloaf :
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs or oats, parsley, pepper, salt, and eggs.
Gently combine with your hands until blended, but try not to overwork the meat.
On a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper, press the meat mixture into a 10×12-inch rectangle.
Set aside ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese and ½ cup og the caramelized onions.
Sprinkle the remaining 1½ cups cheese and the caramelized onions evenly over ground beef.
Roll up like a jelly roll, starting from the short end, lifting the wax paper or plastic wrap as you roll. Seal the end completely, and place seam-side down into a 9×13-inch baking pan.
Sauce – whisk together, bring to boil, simmer till thickened.
Place pan in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. While the meatloaf is baking, prepare the sauce (see below).
Remove pan from oven, pour the sauce over the meatloaf, and sprinkle with the reserved onions nd cheese.
Return meatloaf to oven 15-20 minutes, or until no pink remains. Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is browned and bubbly.
Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired. Remove from oven and allow to stand 10 minutes.
Slice and serve.