All Beef Meatloaf

I know this might look like three pieces of cardboard, but if you are a meatloaf lover like I am, then this is the recipe for you. I always make this in a 2 pound batch, and cut the leftovers into serving portions, wrap individually, and freeze. Many meatloaf recipes call for veal, which adds a silky texture to the finished dish - but veal is expensive and fortunately someone at America's Test Kitchen discovered that adding some gelatin to the recipe mimics that texture. I adapted my recipe from theirs and use a lot of vegetables which add moisture and make it a bit more healthy. I haven't tried this recipe with ground turkey, but I'm guessing it would work.

All Beef Meatloaf
Serves 8

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, grated
2 medium carrots, grated
2 stalks celery, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 gelatin sheet (or 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin)
2 pounds ground beef
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 cup Monterey jack cheese, grated very fine
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Heat oil in a large skillet, then add onion, carrots and celery and cook until softened, allowing the excess moisture to evaporate. Add garlic and cook for one more minute. Remove from heat and set aside. Heat milk slightly and dissolve gelatin in it, then whisk in the eggs. In a large bowl, combine the cooked vegetables with the ground beef, mixing gently. Next add the milk mixture and all remaining ingredients except for the cheese and bread crumbs. Mix to combine, then gently fold in the cheese and bread crumbs. Gently shape the mixture into a loaf about 10 inches long, 6 inches wide, and 2 inches tall. Bake until cooked through, about 1 hour.

TIP: I use a fork to mix everything together - it keeps your hands clean but more importantly it leaves the meatloaf mixture with a fluffy texture which is more pleasant.

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