Serves 6 to 8. Published September 1, 2012. From Cook””s Illustrated.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:
A milk and bread panade gives meatloaf a tender and moist texture, but too much panade can dull meaty flavor. We were able to replace much of the panade with gelatin and umami-rich mushrooms without sacrificing texture. Browning the mushrooms with tomato paste and swapping the milk for chicken stock and soy sauce added additional savory notes. Cooking the meatloaf free-form and on a rack maximizes browning and prevents the loaf from stewing or steaming.
We recommend using ground chuck for this recipe.
2tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion , chopped fine
6ounces white mushrooms , trimmed and sliced thin
1tablespoon tomato paste
3tablespoons plus 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 garlic cloves , minced
2 large eggs
2tablespoons soy sauce
1tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1/2slice hearty white sandwich bread , torn into 1-inch pieces
1/3cup minced fresh parsley
2teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2teaspoon dried thyme
1pound ground pork
1pound 85 percent lean ground beef
1/4cup cider vinegar
3tablespoons packed brown sugar
1teaspoon hot sauce
1/2teaspoon ground coriander
1. FOR THE MEATLOAF: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Fold heavy-duty aluminum foil to form 9 by 5-inch rectangle. Center foil on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Poke holes in foil with skewer (about 1/2 inch apart). Spray foil with vegetable oil spray.
2. Melt butter in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until browned, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low; add 3 tablespoons broth and garlic; cook, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits, until thickened, about 1 minute. Transfer mushroom mixture to large bowl to cool.
3. Whisk eggs, remaining ½ cup broth, and soy sauce together in bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over egg mixture and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes.
4. Pulse bread in food processor until finely ground, 5 to 10 pulses. Add gelatin mixture, cooled mushroom mixture, parsley, mustard, pepper, and thyme to bread crumbs and pulse until mushrooms are finely ground, about 10 pulses, scraping down bowl as needed. Transfer bread-crumb mixture to large bowl. Add pork and beef and mix with hands to thoroughly combine.
5. Transfer meat mixture to foil rectangle and shape into 9 by 5-inch loaf using wet hands. Bake meatloaf until it registers 155 to 160 degrees, 75 to 90 minutes. Remove from oven and turn on broiler.
6. FOR THE GLAZE: While meatloaf cooks, bring all ingredients to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes.
7. Spread half of glaze evenly over cooked meatloaf; place under broiler and cook until glaze bubbles and begins to brown at edges, about 2 minutes. Remove meatloaf from oven and spread evenly with remaining glaze; return to broiler and cook until glaze is again bubbling and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes longer. Let meatloaf cool for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
Creating a Jucier, Meatier Meatloaf
Meatloaf typically contains a milk and bread panade that helps lock in moisture. but the textural enhancement comes at a cost: all of that starchy bread dulls flavor. Our recipe cuts way back on the panade but still produces a moist, meaty loaf.