Shelter-in-place cooking, meatloaf edition
August 5, 2020 1:21 PM   Subscribe

I do not have fond childhood memories of meatloaf, but we’re getting desperate for easy dinner options that can be made ahead and frozen in serving-size portions. What are your most flavorful meatloaf recipes?

Difficulty level:
  • Only kosher ingredients.
  • No wheat or gluten. Oats and gluten-free grains or breadcrumbs are OK, though we are not as likely to have GF breadcrumbs on hand.
  • No onions; minimal garlic; no mushrooms.
Other than that, we’re open to any flavor combinations from any cuisine. We have access to a wide variety of groceries and spices. Looking forward to making better meatloaf memories!
posted by expialidocious to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I kinda wing it when it comes to meatloaf, but the basic process is:

Put a bunch of vegetables (more or less whatever you have on hand) in a food processor to almost a puree
Add salt and sweat the mix in a saute pan with a bit of oil
When that mix is dry, remove it and let it cool (spread on a sheet pan in the fridge works well)
Whisk together 1 or 2 eggs, whatever breadcrumbs you have, 3 splooshes of ketchup, one of mustard, perhaps some worcestershire or horseradish, a bit of salt and a generous plonk of pepper.
Work your ground meat into the "wet" mixture, then add your cooled veg and mix well.
Adjust the consistency with chicken stock and/or bread crumbs. You want it wet but not loose
Form a loaf in a baking dish
Paint on a mix of ketchup, mustard, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar and whack the whole thing in a 350F oven for an hour.
Paint on your ketchup glaze 2-4 times while cooking.

I do it this way based loosely on my memory of Market Street Meatloaf, which can be very fussy.
posted by grateful at 1:31 PM on August 5, 2020

I know you said "meat" loaf but I served this vegetarian haggis recently and it was well-received.

I'm not intimately familiar with what makes things kosher or not, but I think this should be okay since it's all veggies and beans plus one egg.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
5 fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
500ml vegetable stock
5 tablespoons dried red lentils
2 tablespoons canned kidney beans, mashed
3 tablespoons finely ground peanuts
2 tablespoons finely ground hazelnuts
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice (combination of: mace, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, coriander, caraway, cayenne)
1 egg, beaten
250g steel cut oats

Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat and saute the onion until tender. Mix in carrot and mushrooms and continue cooking for 5 minutes.

Stir in the stock, lentils, kidney beans, peanuts, hazelnuts, soy sauce and lemon juice. Season with thyme, rosemary, cayenne pepper and mixed spice.

Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in oats, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 23x13cm loaf tin.

Stir the egg into the mixture (after it's cooled a bit so you don't cook the egg).

Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf tin. Bake 30 minutes until firm.
posted by cranberrymonger at 1:43 PM on August 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Do you have a slow cooker? Because meatloaf in a slow cooker is AMAZING. I never do it any other way now. My recipe came from a cookbook I don't have on hand right now but this looks close. Really any recipe will work though, it's more about the method.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:43 PM on August 5, 2020

Best answer: This is more a methodology than a recipe, but I make ~6lb of meatballs (way easier to cook from frozen!) every quarter or so for the freezer, and it takes three huge bowls so I just flavor each bowl on its own by whatever theme and other available ingredients. My only standard ingredients: a tablespoon of salt per 2lb meat (UNLESS! I'm adding another salty ingredient like soy sauce or peanut butter) and 2 eggs per pound for binding.

Other dry seasonings tend to be 1-2tsp each per 2lb meat, depending on potency.

For vegetable add-ins I usually end up doing about 6-8oz (after cooking) pre-cooked per 2lbs meat, and I at least par-cook everything since vegetables can make stuff really wet.

For sauce/liquid components it's probably 1/2 or 2/3 cup total per 2lbs.

Some of my favorite versions:
- roasted eggplant or shredded zucchini, roasted red peppers, can tomato paste, oregano, fennel seed/anise, white or black pepper, mild or hot chili powder, you can skip garlic and onion but I'd usually use powders
- roasted eggplant or shredded zucchini, mushrooms, a basic stir-fry or dipping sauce (ie: soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, sesame oil, optional red pepper flakes and sesame seeds)
- - - same as above, but a lot more vinegar plus jam or jelly (I know but this is my mom's old 70s appetizer recipe basically and it's delicious) to make sweet and sour
- chopped sundried tomatoes, taco seasoning (make your own to avoid onion and garlic, or just use cumin, mild or hot chili powder, black pepper, bit of celery salt or seed if you have it), and optional a little bit of shredded cheddar , crumbled Oaxacan cheese, or similar - but be light-handed, the cheese gets real greasy when cooking and sometimes things fall apart
- canned chopped green chiles, red or green canned enchilada sauce (regular can, not giant), opt. shredded zucchini, cumin, hot or mild chili powder

I recent questionable experiment had shredded par-cooked sweet potato in it, and my shreds were way too long and made for weird straggly meatballs. Next time I might just rough-mash it and mix that in, for flavor and a softer texture.

I have not tried this yet, but I have received a suggestion of a Frank's type hot sauce and celery seed.

Because I freeze on sheet trays and then bag the meatballs once they're frozen, I do not sauce the outside until I'm ready to cook. For the Asian-y meatballs I toss them in bottled teriyaki or BBQ sauce cut with a little soy and sesame oil, for the tomato-forward types I make a ketchup-based glaze. You want something with a little sugar in it so it turns glazey-sticky. OR, honestly, I make mine in an air fryer (400F for ~18 minutes, stop and temp and then finish cooking aiming at 160ish F) and the outsides get a little toasty like hamburger and I'm fine with that, no sauce necessary.

My canonical meatloaf recipe is Alton Brown's, which he's recently updated from the original Good Eats version.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:49 PM on August 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Most of these have onions, garlic, and mushrooms, and I'm looking for recipes that are built to work without them. Also I would love to see more recommendations for flavors beyond the ketchup-based standard.
posted by expialidocious at 1:55 PM on August 5, 2020

Best answer: My favorite meatloaf recipe does involve onions, but it doesn't depend on them. I don't have a specific recipe, but I usually take about a pound of meat, a couple of tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce (you can get a vegetarian version that should be kosher, or you can use tomato paste instead; it adds a little richness), salt, pepper, two eggs, and breadcrumbs to hold it together. Work this together.

What makes it delicious is that you then add half to three quarters of a cup of dried currants and the same amount of crumbled feta cheese. I have used dried cranberries or cherries or raisins instead, and I've done it with blue cheese, which was almost too rich.

I find meatloaf boring as anything, but I love this recipe.
posted by gideonfrog at 2:31 PM on August 5, 2020

No specific recipe but I usually use oats instead of breadcrumbs and it works great. The only ketchup I use is a very thin spreading over the top. And I always add grated parmesan. Fresh basil and/or oregano. Finely grated carrots.
posted by mareli at 3:26 PM on August 5, 2020

Not sure what causes onions to be out but most recipes calling for onions would work well if you use leeks instead.

The whole ketchup thing is a very American thing. I didn’t check all of these 14 recipes but there was no ketchup in sight in the first six or so and they seemed to cover a range of flavour profiles. I am not clear on how kosher or not they might be but provide the link as inspiration for directions you could take this.
posted by koahiatamadl at 3:38 PM on August 5, 2020

Best answer: Onions provide sweetness, flavor and texture. Sauteed celery might work, cauliflower or summer squash; I don't like zuch., but yellow squash is worth trying.
Bread, oatmeal or rice soak up moisture and add flavor, also cheaper than meat. Don't skimp on the grain and liquid. I don't eat dairy anyway, and use chicken broth (or water and Better-Than-Bouillon) and plenty of Worcestershire sauce. Rice would have to be cooked 1st.
Get 80% lean beef, the fat adds flavor and moisture.
I like the ketchup on top; it gets caramelized. I don't add sugar, but horseradish is listed in showbiz liz's crockpot recipe and that sounds good. I do use mustard, usually garlic, and, of course, eggs.
posted by theora55 at 4:14 PM on August 5, 2020

It’s not going to taste good without onions.
posted by cotton dress sock at 4:35 PM on August 5, 2020

Best answer: How about a modified version of Cantonese "meatloaf"? Steamed minced pork is a childhood favourite but I bet you can use ground chicken instead of pork. Use this recipe as a guide (don't worry about being exact):

I suggest using chopped cilantro and chopped water chestnuts instead of green onions and preserved vegetables, respectively.

You can make it into several portions in smaller dishes and freeze. I have never done so though am not sure about thawing times etc.
posted by methroach at 5:41 PM on August 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

a thing to add to your meatloaf recipe: olives.
posted by ovvl at 8:26 PM on August 5, 2020

Best answer: I think the suggestions of SE Asian flavors above are a great path to explore. Anything you could put in a dumpling will be delicious in loaf form. Same goes for meatballs. I do chicken meatballs with brown sugar, soy, and an excessive amount of fish sauce and they are delightful! I also really like using gochujang instead of the standard ketchup and adding ginger and chilies.

Meatloaf in general isn't really a "recipe" meal to me, it's just whatever flavors you want, mixed into the standard ratio of meat and binders. You can make bread crumbs out of whatever gluten free bread you have on hand, or just crumble up some crackers. Try curry meatloaf, spicy taco meatloaf, Thai peanut meatloaf, really anything.
posted by evilbeck at 1:28 PM on August 6, 2020

We get a meatloaf in a meal kit and it usually comes with a glaze made from hoisin and a little ketchup. I don't miss the ketchup if I skip it. They also do a soy sauce, garlic powder and sugar combo, also mixed with ketchup. In that case, I think it would be too thin without the ketchup, but it would be worth a try.
posted by soelo at 6:48 AM on August 7, 2020

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