A very similar recipe appears in the Spaghetti and Meatballs post, but this is recipe stands on its own just a bit better, making a very moist and flavorful meatloaf with any leftovers have a great texture for sandwiches. The key trick is to use both panko bread crumbs and warm water. The panko keeps the moisture in the meatballs. Please note: this recipe is very forgiving so if you are missing a dried herb or don’t have mustard, either leave it out or substitute something that appeals (oregano for thyme, for example, and sriracha or hot sauce for mustard). Also, the image above is oven ready (not cooked!)
3/4 lb. lean ground beef
1/3 lb. ground pork
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
3/4 T. dried basil
1/4 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. kosher salt
black pepper to taste
1 t. French mustard (grey poupon style)
1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 – 4 T. warm water
2-3 strips of bacon (preferably applewood smoked), if you do not like bacon or eat pork, you can substitute a favorite barbecue sauce or a mixture of ketchup, mustard and brown sugar painted on as a glaze to keep the meatloaf from drying out.
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
- Dice the onion and the garlic finely and place, along with all the other ingredients EXCEPT the water and the bacon, in a large bowl.
- The best way to mix this is with your (clean) hands. If you hate sticking your fingers into raw meat, however, a wooden spoon also works.
- Mix the ingredients gently and just until fully combined.
- Add water starting with 2 T. and mix, adding more if needed, until you can sense that the mixture has become lighter. Trust me, it goes from feeling quite dense to much easier to mix quite quickly and with just this small amount of water.
- Form the mixture into a loaf and place in a baking pan (preferable glass but enamel or aluminum will do). If you want to limit the fat somewhat, you can place the loaf on a rack inside the pan.
- Bake the meatloaf for about 1 hour in total. After 30 or so minutes, check that there is not an excess of rendered fat around the meatloaf. If there is ,carefully spoon as much out as you can. Do not try to tip the pan to drain it–that is a good way to splatter grease, send the meatloaf flying, and/or burn yourself.
- Remove from oven when bacon appears cooked and meatloaf is firm.
- Tent with foil and rest for at least 10 and up to 30 minutes.
- Slice with a large serrated knife if you have one.