This is a traditional “all-American” meatloaf. There are plenty of other recipes and plenty of other options when making this. But this combination of pork, veal, and beef makes the most flavorful and the best-textured meatloaf I have ever eaten.
Be careful not to over-knead the meatloaf ingredients; doing so will result in a heavy and dense loaf. Use a combination of meat for perfect meatloaf: beef for flavor, veal for tenderness and easy slicing, pork for juiciness.
- 3 slice white bread
- 1 large carrot, roughly chopped
- 1 celery, strings peeled, cut into ½-inch pieces
- ½ medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 2 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves, loosely packed
- ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 4½ teaspoon teaspoons dry mustard
- 8 ounce ground pork
- 8 ounce ground veal
- 8 ounce ground round
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon tabasco sauce, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus more needles for sprinkling
- 2 tablespoon dark-brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small red onion, cut into ¼ inch-thick rings
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove crusts from bread, and place slices in the bowl of a food processor. Process until fine crumbs form, about 10 seconds. Transfer breadcrumbs to a large mixing bowl. Do not substitute dried breadcrumbs in this step, as they will make your meatloaf rubbery.
Place carrot, celery, yellow onion, garlic, and parsley in the bowl of the food processor. Process until vegetables have been minced, about 30 seconds, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. (Chopping vegetables this way saves time and ensures that vegetables will be small enough to cook through and not be crunchy). Transfer vegetables to bowl with the breadcrumbs.
Add ½ cup ketchup, 2 teaspoons dry mustard, pork, veal, beef, eggs, salt, pepper, Tabasco, and rosemary. Using your hands, knead the ingredients until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. The texture should be wet, but tight enough to hold a free-form shape.
Set a wire baking rack into an 11-by-17-inch baking pan. Cut a 5-by-11-inch piece of parchment paper, and place over center of rack to prevent meatloaf from falling through. Using your hands, form an elongated loaf covering the parchment.
Alternatively, you could put the meat into a loaf pan, but I like the crust that forms all over from this method.
Place the remaining 3 tablespoons ketchup, remaining 2 ½ teaspoons mustard, and brown sugar in a bowl. Mix until smooth. Using a pastry brush, generously brush the glaze over loaf.
Add oil to a medium saucepan set over high heat. When oil is quite hot, but not yet smoking, add red onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until onion is soft and golden in places. Add 3 tablespoons water, and cook, stirring, until most of the water has evaporated. The onions should be jammy. Transfer them to a bowl to cool slightly, then sprinkle onion over the meatloaf (this step is optional).
Bake the meatloaf for 30 minutes, then sprinkle rosemary needles on top. Continue baking loaf until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers 160 degrees; about 25 minutes more. Let meatloaf cool on rack, 15 minutes.