I've decided that's okay. There is a time and a place for meatloaf, and afternoon tea just isn't it. It belongs in a logging camp, or maybe at an old-fashioned boarding house, or slapped between two pieces of bread for a real man's sandwich. Or the way we had it: on a Sunday evening with coleslaw and beers, and no pretense of fuss.
This particular meatloaf came from a woman I very much respect, Annie B. Copps, at Yankee, so I suppose there's no reason to worry over presentation too much. (Though I noticed she did not include a photo in the magazine.) She got it from her mom, who considered it a bit déclassé, and but later confessed to liking it quite a bit. As a child, Annie says she often begged for it, and after making it, I understand perfectly why.
It's knock-your-socks off good. It's soft, salty, meaty, and rich—despite the fat drippings that are lost over top of the pan. I can't exactly endorse it as healthy, but that's what Sunday afternoons are for, right? It's a relaxing, belly-aching kind of meal, just the kind you want this time of year. Maybe on the occasion of a football game (even if you pay no attention to the the men in tights), or after a long day outside chasing your dog hopelessly through the sinking dunes.
You start with bread and broth, and then add meat, onions, and eggs. Then you simply season, mold, and bake. It's very simple, really. It's much easier to make, in fact, than say, a real bundt cake, and it's also much less time consuming to bake than it is to find a crowd to devour the thing. It's good, heavenly—but there's only so much meatloaf two people can eat. Even if we each ate a slice every day for a week, I'm entirely certain we could not polish it off. So keep in mind that this recipe requires friends, and keep a phone handy while you bake.
adapted from Yankee magazine, January/February 2009
3 slices white bread
1 cup beef broth
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound bacon or salt pork, very very finely chopped*
1/2 pound chorizo, very very finely chopped*
1 cup onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup ketchup
1/8 cup mayo
1/8 cup mustard, whole grain
4 bacon strips, uncooked
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the bread in a small bowl, and pour the broth over it. Let is soak up as much liquid as it can. In a large bowl, knead together the meats. Add bread and broth, onion, garlic, eggs, herbs, and condiments. DO NOT add any salt: the broth, meats, and condiments are plenty salty enough. Salt would be a big, big mistake. Knead by hand (clean hand!) until well mixed. Grease a bundt cake or bread pan, and pack meat mixture in. Arrange bacon strips on top, and bake about an hour. Let rest 20 minutes before serving. Leftovers make excellent sandwiches, particularly with a dollop of coleslaw for a really dirty meal.
*I used a food processor for this, which worked very nicely.