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Favorite twists to basic meatloaf?

Looking for inspiration....

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  1. Recently, Mister brought home a cookbook from Tuscany. Or was it a history? Anyway, it didn't have any kind of precise measurements in it, but it did have a recipe for meatloaf with chopped prosciutto and grated parmesan cheese.

    He said he liked it-- I think my palate was confused.

    I see some reference on the net to this combination as a 'Polpettone.'

    1 Reply
    1. re: syberyenta

      If you compare the ingredients between meatloaf and Italian meatballs, they're not that different. My meatball recipe is just my meatloaf recipe minus onions plus garlic/parm.

      I also make my meatballs in a meatloaf plan and slice them into cubes before simmering.

    2. duck fat...

      Actually, not so basic, but the only meatloaf I've ever liked (I usually hate it) was made by a friend of mine with a mix of ground pork, ground veal, and duck fat.

        1. I make my meatloaf with 3/4 lean ground chuck, 1/4 mild Italian sausage(bulk). For 2 lb. chuck and 4 oz. sausage, I add 1 beaten egg, 1/2 c. Romano cheese, 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs, 1 small onion grated, 2 T garlic, salt/pepper to taste, 1/4 cup ketchup, (I have kids, don't go there), 3T Dijon mustard. Mix all well, form into loaf, put in low sided roasting pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Make sauce from 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce, 2 T worchestershire sauce, put on top of load, bake another 20 min. Let stand 20 min before slicing.

          1. Veal stock :) Adds a smoothness to it. Here's my recipe:

            1. I haven't tried it yet, but lately I've been contemplating a teriyaki meatloaf.

              1. I used japanese curry instead of the traditional tomato sauce/ketchup. Topped it with panko crumbs tossed with butter. :)

                1. Well.... I've passed my cookbook on to my college aged kids, but...in my college days I used to make a meatloaf that included bananas and raisins. I thought it was great!
                  (You were asking for twists)

                  1. I've made a meatloaf which included eggplant, zucchini, tomato and potato, all partially-cooked before incorporating. It was about half meat and half veggie, and my meatloaf-hating friend loved it. Have lost the recipe (drat!) so if anyone has a recipe that includes eggplant, I'd appreciate it.

                    My general helpful hint is this: Campbell's Golden Mushroom Soup makes a fine base to build on for meatloaf gravy.

                    1. I often add finely chopped (food processor) veg (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peppers, zucchini, etc)instead of bread crumbs. Depending on how moist it is, I might add some bread crumbs and/or another egg.

                      Can also save the leftover veg for soup!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: SLO

                        I do something similar. I finely chop onion, celery, and mushrooms int eh food processor instead of breadcrumbs. The mushrooms keep the meaty flavor and keeps the loaf moist, but we avoid the bread.

                      2. A meatloaf recipe my Mominlaw gave me years ago, included oats (3/4) cup soaked in evaporated milk(3/4 cup) and added to the meat mixture. It has a good texture.

                        1. Roasted Garlic. Lots of it. :-)

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            ooooooooooooooh! that sounds absolutely delicious. I will definitely try that out soon :)

                            1. re: MeowMixx

                              I like to mix it into the meatloaf as well as spread some on top.

                          2. Add a box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained. Good for you and makes it really moist.

                            1. Form the meatloaf around a line of hard boiled eggs before baking. When sliced, the eggs are an attractive addition to the look.

                              1. I honestly have not had meatloaf for about 15 years... then one night we were watching the food network (nothing else on in hotel room) and Tyler Florence had his Ultimate Meatloaf .... it looked good, inspiring .... i then made it and it was like no other I had ever tasted.... moist, flavorable, and the relish on top to die for... here is the link to the recipe... a definite try..


                                1. When my daughter was little she liked me to put a layer of cheese in the center of the meatloaf--cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, she didn't care as long as there was cheese. I did it again recently and added some leftover crisp-fried bacon (I know! who ever has leftovers of that?) on the cheese layer; it was sort of like a cheeseburger. My husband suggested that the next time I was so inclined, I should use some crumbled gorgonzola...

                                  1. For some reason my mother always used instant oats instead of bread crumbs, and I still do. I also like to add corn kernels and fresh rosemary.

                                    1. A can of stewed tomatoes on top

                                      1. I've lately been on a health kick, trying to avoid red meats (jeez, it's hard). I make a turkey meatloaf to which I add chopped green chilies (sometimes I have poblanos I've roasted on hand), a little anejo cheese, Cholula hot sauce, and cilantro, plus all the other regular meatloaf ingredients onions (pureed), milk (skim), ketchup, an egg and some bread crumbs...and I still slather the ketchup on top. Then I pray it doesn't end up a dry mess, and I usually end up with something juicy and vaguely Southwestern.

                                        When I just have to "go for it" I use this surprisingly easy variation. All beef, pureed onion and garlic, chopped parsley, breacrumbs, blah blah, mix the ingredients. Lay a sheet of foil on the counter, put a little olive oil on your palm and smear it over the foil, and make a flat disc of the meat mixture, about an inch thick. On top of the meat lay a layer of thinly sliced ham or prosciutto, on top of that lay a thin layer of mozarella (I suggest part-skim supermarket mozarella because it melts better), and on top of the cheese some fresh basil leaves (not across the whole layer, use sparingly). Using the foil to help you, roll up the meats and cheese, making sure none of the filling is peaking out on the bottom seam, or on the edges. Keep in the foil on a casserole dish, and put in a 350 degree oven. Unwrap in the last 15 or 20 minutes so it gets nice and brown.

                                        1. I love to provide the meatloaf texture with a different yet complimentary topper: cumin and paprika sauteed onions.

                                          1 T olive oil
                                          1/2 onion, sliced into 1/4 inch rings
                                          pinch cumin
                                          pinch sweet paprika

                                          Sautee onions in oil and spices for 10 minutes or until nicely carmelized. Top off meatloaf with onions, slice and serve.!


                                          1. My mother used to place one or two hard-boiled eggs, shelled of course, in the middle of the meatloaf. It looked attractive. She also made the meatloaf on a a baking dish rather than in a loaf pan. That way, the fat cooks out and there's a large surface to crisp up. Needless to say, no tomato sauce was needed or desirable. I don't do the the egg bit, but I still make meatloaf that way.

                                            1. I like feta and spinach as an add-in, sometimes sundried tomatoes too.

                                              My only "disaster" meatloaf was one in which I added a cup of minced raw onions. The flavour was overpowing - now I saute them first.

                                              1. to spice it up..add a can of Chipoltes in adobo......and you will be flying in the friendly skies!

                                                1. My favorite meatloaf is actually a Tarragon Meatballs recipe, originally written using ground veal. We use ground turkey which is also delicate. The tarragon flavors the bland turkey. It is in the Chris Meade/Emilie Tolley book, _Herbs_. You finely chop lots of onion and precook it with lots of garlic until it's wilted. Then you add breadcrumbs and freshly grated Parmesan and parsley. I'm sure it had eggs and a touch of nutmeg. Delicious and very inexpensive to find ground turkey around here. We've been making it since the book came out years and years ago.

                                                  1. mushrooms (shitake or oyster), soaked dried porcinis, and use reduced soaking liquid.

                                                    Here's the recipe I posted: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/328979

                                                    1. Batali has a really good recipe for polpettone in his Molto Italiano book. If anybody's interested, I'll post.

                                                      1. I love a recipe from some famous restaurant somewhere: 2/3 beef, 1/3 pork, plus apple sauce (and onions, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, milk - I omit the egg). I also like to steam finely diced carrots, onions, celery, and add to the mix. Great for texture and flavor, and the carrots add a fine visual.