Meat loaf is one of those dishes that can take on so much, like vegetables, leftover mashed potatoes, the end of a bottle of wine from the weekend, a bit of stale bread. The real key to a juicy, delicious loaf isn't the meat, it is all the things that moisten and flavor the loaf at the same time -- like bread soaked in wine, tomato paste, vegetables and cheese.
Mashed potatoes are the classic partners for this, but a puree of braised broccoli and garlic is lighter and works like a charm. Sandwiches of this loaf on day two are super, especially if you warm the meatloaf for a few moments.
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1/2 cup cubed (about 1/4-inch cubes) whole-wheat baguette, or other whole-grain chewy bread
- 1/4 cup dry red or white wine
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 large fresh basil leaves, torn
- 1 slice bacon, minced
- 1/2 cup (1-1/2 to 2 ounces) shredded Asiago or extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1/4onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1/4 large sweet red pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 large whole scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 pound ground 85% beef chuck
- 1/2 cup dry red or white wine
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Have a 9-inch square cake pan handy.
- 2. Turn on a food processor and drop in the garlic. Then drop in the bread cubes and process until pieces are a quarter the size of a pea. Scrape everything into a large bowl and moisten the crumbs with the wine. Let wine soak into the bread while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
- 3. Completely blend in all the remaining ingredients except the meat. Then work in the meat with a spoon until everything is thoroughly mixed. Turn the mixture into the pan and shape into a plump loaf.
- 4. Bake the meatloaf 20 minutes and pour the 1/2 cup of wine over it. Bake another 30 to 40 minutes, basting occasionally with the pan juices, or until an instant reading thermometer inserted into the meat loaf’s center reads 160ºF. Remove the meatloaf from the oven; let it rest about 15 minutes, then slice for serving.