I saw Ina Garten make this meatloaf awhile back and made a mental note to try it out. It was tagged the Best Meatloaf I Ever Had, so obviously I had to test this out for myself! I liked that it was a change from the run of the mill tomato (or ugh…ketchup) coated meatloaf. Not that a tomato sauce is bad, as in my opinion, all is good with tomato sauce. This lighter sauce with specks of herbs and roasted garlic is ladled on the sliced meatloaf upon serving soaking into the tender meat for a drippy, yummy mouthful.
I prepared the meatloaf on a baking sheet, as Ina suggests, and as I have been doing for many years now. I like the more rustic look of the meatloaf this way; not the formed block out of a loaf pan! It was easy to pull together and while it baked for 50 minutes, I took a short bike ride, coming home to an amazing aroma. The sauce quickly came together while the meatloaf rested. I did add flour (or cornstarch could be used) to the sauce ingredients to thicken it slightly.
Leftover meatloaf is always good; I like to sandwich it up for my son in fresh baked rolls or frittata style with large chunks of meatloaf and cheese!
Adapted from 1770 House Meatloaf
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh chives, plus 1 teaspoon for the sauce
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh thyme leaves, plus 1 teaspoon for the sauce
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh Italian parsley, plus 1 teaspoon for the sauce
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups finely ground Panko (place Panko in food processor to finely grind)
2/3 cup whole organic milk
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 stalks of celery, finely diced
1 large Spanish onion, finely diced
2 cups chicken stock, homemade or good quality purchased
8 to 10 cloves roasted garlic
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons flour or cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the veal, pork, beef, chives, thyme, parsley, eggs, Panko, milk, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat with olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the celery and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, until softened. Remove the celery and onion from the pan and let cool. When the mixture is cool, add it to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients.
Mix the ingredients until well combined and everything is evenly distributed, using your hands is the best kitchen tool. Place a piece of parchment paper or slipat on a baking sheet pan. Place the meat on the sheet pan and pat it and punch it down to remove any air pockets. Shape the meat into a loaf. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until a meat thermometer indicates an internal temperature of 155 to 160 degrees. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the sauce, combine the butter and flour and cook a few minutes to combine and thicken. Pour in the broth and roasted garlic and simmer over medium high heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly thickened. Add 1 teaspoon of each of the chopped thyme, chives and parsley. Slice the meatloaf into serving portions and spoon the hot sauce over the meatloaf and serve.