Makeover Meatloaf

I haven’t had meatloaf since I made it at school… and it was terrible! I’m sure America’s Test Kitchen know more about meatloaf than my cookery teacher, so I’m using their Comfort Food Makeover (p148) recipe to give it another chance.

It’s a bit strange doing a makeover recipe of something I’ve not eaten for decades let alone made. I don’t know what normally goes in a meatloaf, so I’m just taking their word that it’s a makeover! More mushrooms, less meat, soy & tomato for glutamates to boost the umami makes sense, but I’m not going to have anything to compare it to when I taste it…

Anyway… quite the ingredient list for this once. For the meatloaf:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Salt & pepper
  • 250g mushrooms
  • 6 tsp lazy garlic (recipe says 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped… thats’ both not enough and too much like hard work :)
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • Good squeeze of tomato purée (recipe says 1/4 cup tomato juice, but we like (and have) paste)
  • 1 piece of focaccia bread (not quite the slice of sandwich bread called for, but if we buy a loaf of bread we’ll end up eating all it’s calories… on top of the home made bread!)
  • 500g 95% lean beef steak mince
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Set the oven to 170c fan. Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking tray. Play foil on top of the rack, and poke holes in it every centimetre or so. This allows the heat to get under the loaf and bake evenly from all sides. The foil stops the loaf sliding down into the wire rack, and the holes allow moisture and grease to seep out.

Soften onions in a frying pan, adding seasoning, then cook the mushrooms to get rid of their moisture. Stir in the garlic, thyme & tomato purée then take off the heat. Let this cool then add to the food processor. Add the bread and process until smooth, then add the mince and pulse it in to combine.

Whisk the egg, soy, mustard, salt & pepper in a bowl. Add the meat mixture and combine. Shape by hand into a 8″x6″ loaf shape and place on the prepared foil rack.


Bake for 1 hour and check it’s reached 71C internally.

At the end of it’s baking prepare the glaze:

  • 1/3 cup tomato ketchup
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (maybe a little more :)

Simmer this in a pan until thickened. Once the loaf is cooked spread the glaze over the top and put under the grill (broiler) until it bubbles, about 3 minutes. Leave for 10 minutes before serving.


We’re serving with green beans and mashed potatoes.


And it was delicious! It was a bit fally-aparty, which we assume real meatloaf isn’t. From what we’ve seen on TV meatloaf should stay together in thin slices, and this certainly wouldn’t: it fell apart in the thick slices we had.

Back to the delicious: it was light and moist, with really deep beefy flavour and that lovely spicy glaze on on. The mash potato works really well with it: there’s a reason meat and potatoes is an American staple!

Although it’s a makeover, it’s not going to be a weeknight staple for us. We try to avoid red meat during the week, and the hour cooking time in addition to prep means it would take too long. BUt as a winter warmer weekend dish, I’m sure we’ll be doing it again.

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