The other night my Mama assigned me a glorious task--making meatloaf--a personal favorite. They key to a great meatloaf is proper moisture. If a meatloaf doesn't have enough tomato sauce or it has to many breadcrumbs then it will be crumbly and dry, not satisfying for my palate. Having said that if there is an excess of sauce or no binder or breadcrumbs, then the result would be a hot mess of a weird unappealing squishy meat-thing. I say "meat-thing" because if there's to much liquid then it wont stick together properly forming the desired loaf goal.
Aside from moisture one needs to create a good base with a variety of meats. I have something called the Holy Trinity of Meat. equal parts of ground beef, pork, and veal. The Beef gives the meatloaf or meatballs that classic meaty flavor. The Pork needs to be Italian, half sweet, half spicy, this adds a depth of flavor to the dish. However if you don't have the two different kinds of pork you can add a pinch of brown sugar or fennel seeds [for the sweet] and 1/2 tsp hot sauce [for the spicy.] Lastly, the Veal has a milder flavor and harmonizes all the different flavors together.
Meaty 3 Meat Meatloaf:
-1 1/2 lb. meat mixture [1/2 lb. each of ground beef, pork, and veal]
-1 onion, finely chopped
-3 cloves of garlic, minced or grated*
-1 celery rib, finely chopped
-1/2 carrot, shredded
-1 1/2 tbs. paprika
-2 tsp. dried, crushed rosemary
-2 tsp. dried, crushed thyme
-1 tsp pepper
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-3/4 c. tomato sauce
-2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
-2 tbs. Italian dressing
-1/2-3/4 c. plain or Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
Preheat the hotbox to 350 F
In a large bowl, using your hand combine together the meat with the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, and seasonings. Now add in the tomato sauce, Worcestershire and Italian dressing wih the meat mixture. beat the egg then combine with meat. Pour in the bread crumbs, making sure that the mixture is moist and sticks together.
Dump the meat into a greased bread loaf pan, distribute evenly. Make sure to push the edges of the meatloaf away from the sides of the pan, leaving an inch of space for the fat to drain into. Brush the top with tomato sauce to retain moisture, if you want wrap in bacon for extra moisture and flavor.
Put in the oven and bake for an hour and a half.