The holidays are coming and from now till New Years it is an eat-fest but no one really rolls out a meatloaf to the holiday table. The customary feast is ruled by those grand baked orbs: turkey and ham. Bah. Pound for pound, neither of those — despite the hours in the oven and all that carving — can match a good meat loaf in intensity of flavor and crowd-pleasing potential. The rich kernels of fat in the ground meats seep and bubble throughout it, spreading flavor like the white ribbons in a well marbled steak. Meat loaf is beautiful. Plus, it’s cheap as hell and easy to make.
Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, minced (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon paprika
2 cups day-old bread, crust removed, small diced
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
8 ounces ground bacon
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
Serving suggestions: Mashed potatoes, potato salad
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. Melt the butter in a medium saute pan and add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Sweat the onions, and then add the garlic and continue to cook. Stir in the chipotle powder and paprika and lightly toast with the onion mixture. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
3. Meanwhile, soak the bread in the milk until completely soft and hydrated. Squeeze out the excess milk and transfer to a large bowl along with the onion mixture, chuck, bacon, parsley, black pepper, eggs and remaining salt. Mix together.
4. Pack this mixture into a loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. Let cool slightly (it will be easier to slice).
5. Slice the meatloaf and serve it with your favorite mashed potatoes or potato salad.