Classic American Meatloaf Recipe: A Comfort Food Classic
When it comes to hearty and comforting American dishes, few can rival the timeless appeal of a classic American meatloaf. This beloved comfort food has been a staple on dinner tables across the country for generations. In this article, we’ll take you through a step-by-step guide to creating the perfect classic American meatloaf recipe that will have your family coming back for seconds.
Meatloaf is a quintessential American comfort food that has been a favorite of families for generations. This hearty dish is easy to make, can be customized to suit individual preferences, and is perfect for feeding a crowd. In this article, we’ll show you how to make a classic American meatloaf recipe that is sure to become a favorite in your household.
What Makes a Meatloaf “Classic”?
Before we dive into the recipe, let’s clarify what makes a meatloaf “classic.” A classic American meatloaf is typically made with ground beef, although variations with ground pork, veal, or even a combination of meats are not uncommon. It’s seasoned with a blend of traditional spices, baked to perfection, and often glazed with a savory sauce. The result is a mouthwatering, moist, and flavorful dish that’s perfect for any occasion.
Ingredients You’ll Need
To get started, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 1 pound of ground beef (80% lean is ideal)
- 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup of milk
- 1/4 cup of ketchup
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped onion
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped green bell pepper
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped celery
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
Now, let’s walk through the process of creating your classic American meatloaf:
- Preheat Your Oven: Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Prepare the Meat Mixture: In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, milk, ketchup, chopped onion, green bell pepper, celery, minced garlic, egg, salt, black pepper, thyme, oregano, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix everything together until it’s well combined.
- Shape Your Meatloaf: Form the meat mixture into a loaf shape and place it in a baking dish.
- Add the Glaze: If you want that classic meatloaf glaze, spread a bit more ketchup on top of your meatloaf.
- Bake It: Put the meatloaf in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 1 hour or until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F (70°C).
- Let It Rest: Once it’s done, take it out of the oven and allow it to rest for a few minutes before slicing.
Before we get started, let’s gather all the ingredients we need to make this delicious meatloaf:
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 eggs
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, milk, ketchup, eggs, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and shape it into a loaf.
- Bake for 1 hour, or until the meatloaf is fully cooked. You can check if it’s done by inserting a meat thermometer into the center of the loaf – it should read 160°F (71°C).
- Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Tips for Making the Perfect Meatloaf
- Use high-quality ground beef: The quality of the meat you use will impact the flavor and texture of your meatloaf. We recommend using ground beef with a fat content of at least 80%.
- Don’t overwork the mixture: Mix the ingredients just enough to combine them. Overmixing can lead to a tough meatloaf.
- Let the meatloaf rest: Allowing the meatloaf to rest for a few minutes after baking helps it retain its shape and makes it easier to slice.
- Customize it: Feel free to experiment with different seasonings and toppings to make the meatloaf your own. You can add grated cheese, chopped herbs, or even bacon to the mixture.
Meatloaf is a versatile dish that can be served in many ways. Here are some ideas for serving your classic American meatloaf:
- With mashed potatoes and gravy
- On a sandwich with lettuce and tomato
- With roasted vegetables and a side salad
- With macaroni and cheese
In conclusion, a classic American meatloaf recipe is a timeless comfort food that is easy to make and customizable to individual tastes. With a few simple ingredients and some basic techniques, you can create a delicious and satisfying meal that is perfect for feeding a crowd or enjoying as leftovers. So why not try making this classic dish for your next family dinner or gathering?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
To further enhance your content’s SEO, consider adding a section of frequently asked questions related to your classic American meatloaf recipe. Here are some sample FAQs:
Q: Can I use ground turkey instead of beef?
- A: Yes, you can substitute ground turkey for a leaner option. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Q: What side dishes go well with meatloaf?
- A: Classic sides like mashed potatoes, green beans, or macaroni and cheese complement meatloaf perfectly.
Q: Can I freeze meatloaf for later?
- A: Absolutely! Meatloaf freezes well. Just wrap it tightly in foil or plastic wrap before freezing.
Q: Can I use a different type of meat instead of beef?
Yes, you can use ground pork, turkey, or chicken instead of beef to make a meatloaf.
Q: Can I make meatloaf ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the meatloaf mixture ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours before baking.
Q: Can I freeze meatloaf?
Yes, you can freeze cooked meatloaf for up to 3 months. Just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil before freezing.
There you have it—a classic American meatloaf recipe that’s sure to become a family favorite. Whether you’re serving it for a special occasion or a weeknight dinner, this comforting dish never goes out of style.
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