Secret ingredient meatloaf

Prep time: 15 minutes. Cook time: 45 minutes. Servings: 4.

Homey and comforting, meatloaf is a dish of minced meat with European origins. Stateside, it has a reputation for epitomizing the simple, humble food characteristic of suburban America. Ground meat like beef, pork, veal, chicken, turkey, or a combination thereof is mixed with veggies and a milk and bread panade, then molded into a loaf shape and baked.

Here, a presoaked milk and bread panade keeps the ground beef moist, while classic aromatics like celery, onion, carrot, and garlic lend depth of flavor. The addition of Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste gives the mixture bright flavor, and the egg helps bind the ingredients. Of course, a traditional ketchup glaze lends perfect sweetness and tang. The secret ingredient? Kewpie mayo! This Japanese mayonnaise is made with yolks, rendering it extra rich and creamy. A drizzle on top contrasts beautifully with the glaze.

Ingredients

Shopping list

  • 1 slice soft sandwich bread, roughly torn into small pieces
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup onion, diced
  • ¼ cup carrot, diced
  • ¼ cup celery, diced
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 ½ teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ scant cup ketchup, divided
  • 2 tablespoons kewpie mayo

Equipment

  • large pan
  • baking sheet
  • aluminum foil

Soak bread

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the bread in a small bowl, pour in the milk, and set aside to soak until the bread is very soft and mushy.

Saute vegetables

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and the vegetables are soft, 6-8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the thyme and tomato paste, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool for about 3 minutes.

Make meatloaf mixture

In a large bowl, combine the beef, egg, Worcestershire sauce, sauteed vegetables, kosher salt, and as much black pepper as desired. Using a spoon, transfer the softened bread and add it to the bowl with the beef, discarding the milk. Using your hands, mix until just combined.

Shape meatloaf

Transfer the meatloaf mixture to a foil-lined baking sheet and shape it into a loaf, about 4 inches by 6 inches.

Glaze meatloaf

Spread 2 tablespoons of the ketchup evenly over the top of the meatloaf.

Bake meatloaf

Transfer the meatloaf to the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 45 minutes. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and spread the remaining ketchup over the top, then return the loaf to the oven. Bake until cooked through, 10-15 minutes more.

Serve meatloaf

Remove the finished meatloaf from the oven ad set it aside to rest for about 10 minutes. Drizzle the kewpie mayo on top. Cut into thick, hearty slices and enjoy.