I like meatloaf but only during Vidalia season. The sweetness of the onion gives this meatloaf a nice mild flavor. I use some unconventional ingredients too which makes it moist and delicious. I know some people might think meatloaf is yawn, snore, BORING. But with a few changes here and there, you can take something from snorefest to WOWfest.
In this entry, you'll find the recipe for the meatloaf and the roasted red pepper ketchup. I will make a separate entry tomorrow for the onion rings. :)
Begin by cutting up one small vidalia onion. Notice i didn't cut my pieces very small. I like to get a bite of it in my meatloaf.
We're going to caramelize the onions before putting them in the mixing bowl. Heat a skillet over medium heat. We want to sweat the onions, not sautee so don't get the heat too high. Put a little olive oil in the pan. Add the onion. Mix around.
Sprinkle a little sugar on top, and add some salt. This will pull the water out of the onion and help start the caramel-
ization process. Cook until they start browning. If they look like they're burning a little, add a Tablespoon of water. Set aside.
Finely chop half of a green bell pepper. I like this to be in smaller pieces to 1) not scare off small children. ACK! A PEPPER!, and 2) I want the pepper to be dispersed throughout the loaf.
Put 1 1/2 lbs ground beef and 1 1/2 pounds ground pork in a bowl.
You can use ground sirloin, or ground veal, or whatever kind of meat you want. Go crazy with it!
Add 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese. I know... I added a little bit more than that. I can't help it. I love cheese!
Salt and pepper, and 2 minced garlic cloves.
I'd say "oh yah, baby".. but whenever I hear that phrase, I think of Emeril Legasse and it creeps me out. So I shall resist the urge.
Remove all rings and watches from your hands/wrists. Using your fingers and hands, smoosh all of the ingredients together. If the thought of touching raw meat repulses you, enlist the help of your slaves... I mean.. children. :) Make sure they wash up well first. Ick. You should see my daughter's hands sometimes. *shudder*
Put the meat into a loaf pan or baking dish and shape. Put in a 350* oven and bake for 50 minutes or until done.
While it's baking, make the ketchup.
In a saucepan, heat some olive oil over medium high heat. Put in 1/2 cup finely diced onion, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 bay leaf, and 1/2 tsp fennel seed. Saute for about 1 minute being careful not to burn the garlic.
Add 1 chipotle pepper, finely minced.
If you don't want this spicy, add only 1/2 of a pepper. Ours had a lot of bite to it so I didn't give any to my daughter. Cook down for about 1/2 hour.
Pull the meatloaf from the oven. There's always some strange floaty stuff around the edge of my meatloaf. If you have it, take a spoon and scoop it away.
After you've pulled the meatloaf from the oven, remove the bay leaf from the ketchup and dump everything into a blender. Pulse until all the chunky stuff is almost gone. I leave some of it because I like having some texture.
Also, after you pull the meatloaf from the oven, jack the temp up to 425* and bake however many slices of THIS awesome bread you need. (1 per person)
To plate: put the piece of garlic bread down on a plate. Cut a nice thick piece of meatloaf and put on top of the bread. Spoon some mashed potatoes on top of that. Drizzle the roasted red pepper ketchup around the plate and on top of the potatoes. Top with Tabasco beer battered onion rings.