Good old meat loaf gets a face lift in this recipe that landed in Jim’s e-mail box.
Just when you think you’ve eaten every kind of meat loaf known to humans, a new one pops up. So many love affairs, so little time.
We adore meat loaf, crave it actually. We’re driving home from work, and we must have it. Period.
Meat loaf is the one sure-fire fast meal. The dog will baby-sit the oven as its irresistible aroma fills the kitchen. Man, my stomach’s growling right now.
It took me 10 years to cook my way through my meat-loaf recipe collection. I might add they were 10 very delicious and fulfilling years.
Then Marcia Simmons re-entered my life (via e-mail). Any message with “Try this immediately!” in the subject line catches my eye.
Marcia and I go way back. We’d grab nasty cheeseburgers and burnt fries at the Kent State Hub student center, and pay for it the rest of the day. We’ve kept in touch, trading recipes and trying to forget those college abominations.
Her meat loaf comes from her Grandma Poulan, and she suspects it’s Polish.
“I have about an hour to myself when I get home from work. This fits it perfectly. It only takes 10 minutes to mix,” she reports.
There are two things going on here that make this not your usual meat loaf. The tomato sauce adds a tang and welcome moisture. The fried onions are a major surprise, powering it to four stars.
The only thing I added was the carrots. They temper the acid in the tomato sauce, sweetening it just enough.
Marcia likes a glass of Cabernet with her loaf, and baked potatoes with big chunks of butter streaming down the sides. Who doesn’t?
I rarely drool over e-mail, but this one started the waterworks. I’m sure there will be arguments, but Marcia’s loaf might be the best one yet. Then again, each meat loaf creation seems the best when we get it on the plate. And Lily, our Doxie, is going nuts.
MARCIA’S CRACKLING MEAT LOAF
Mix beef with 1/2 cup tomato sauce and 1/2 can of the onions with the remaining ingredients. Load into a loaf pan. Spoon remaining sauce over top.
Set oven at 400 degrees. Just before baking, sprinkle on the rest of the onions. Bake one hour or until the loaf is cooked through and the onions are browned. Allow to sit for 5 minutes outside the oven before slicing.
Options: Bake potatoes at the same time. For a pickle-stuffed loaf, cut the raw mixture in half and place dill pickle slices on the bottom half, then reseal with the top layer. Swiss cheese is good with the pickles. Black olives are another option here. Serves 4.
Contact Jim Hillibish at email@example.com.