The first record of MEATLOAF appeared in the 5th century Roman Empire in Apicius De re coquinaria (collection of cookeries). It is believed that Meatloaf was a spinoff of the “Dutch Meatball” in various combinations in Germany, Belgium, and Scandinavia.
A basic meatloaf recipe called for any kind of ground meat (venison, beef, pork, poultry and even seafood), flavored with local herbs, spices, and vegetables, and held together with a filler of bread or cracker crumbs soaked in milk and beaten eggs. Meatloaf is formed into a loaf for baking or smoking, or formed to a cast iron skillet and baked over an open fire.
Germans brought the idea meatloaf to the colonial Pennsylvania, and the meat portion was scrapple (made from ground pork, cornmeal, buckwheat flour and a blend of spices. America fell in love with Meatloaf to a point where it’s often mentioned alongside hot dogs and hamburgers as one of the America’s iconic comfort foods.
In the 1920’s "lunch cars" began to popup all over the northeast. The best value on the menu “Meatloaf”, served with a vegetable, mashed potatoes and gravy. Meatloaf was the money maker. There was no garbage can in those old New Jersey Diners.’ Scraps of food, leftovers, and stale bread were processed with cheap cuts of ground meat and eggs. Every diner had its signature Meatloaf.
In 1940, the Culinary Arts Institute published a recipe for Savory Meat Loaf that called for beef, vegetable soup, and cereal flakes. A pork loaf from the 1957 Complete American Cookbook was to be seasoned with turmeric, Angostura bitters, meat extract, and caramel.
Here we are in 2023 and Meatloaf remains as popular as ever. Enjoy!
New Jersey Diner Meatloaf with Roasted Herbed Garlic Gravy
Preparation Time: 1 hour – makes 6 to 8 servings – Adapted for Induction Cooking
Equipment: 10 ½ -inch Gourmet Skillet, Oil Core Electric Skillet, 11-inch sauté skillet, induction cooker. If baking in the oven use the heavy-duty double griddle for a good bottom crust or the jelly roll pan.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon Italian pure golden olive oil
- 1 stalk celery, chopped #2 cutting cone.
- 1 small onion, chopped #2 cutting cone.
- 1 small green pepper chopped fine.
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ cup Panko or Italian breadcrumbs
- ½ cup milk
- 2 whole eggs, lightly beaten.
- 2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped fine.
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine
- 1 pound ground veal
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste.
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives chopped fine.
In the gourmet fry pan, over medium heat 275°F, melt butter and add olive oil. Sauté celery, onions, peppers, and garlic until tender. Remove from heat, set aside and allow to cool slightly.
In a large mixing bowl combine bread crumbs with the milk and add eggs. Using herb shears clip thyme and parsley into the mixture. Add sautéed celery, onions, peppers and garlic. Combine mixture with veal, beef, and pork, mix well. Salt and pepper to taste.
If baking in the oven preheat to 350°F (177°C). On the roasting griddle, form mixture into a loaf, and garnish with chopped chives. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Allow to rest, about 15 minutes. Slice and serve.
If baking on top of the range. Press meatloaf into large sauté skillet or electric skillet. Cover, close the vent, adjust the heat to medium low 200°F (93°C) and bake stovetop, about 30 minutes.
To Serve: Allow to rest, about 15 minutes. Slice and serve with mashed potatoes, peas and top with Roasted Herb Garlic Gravy.
Roasted Herb Garlic Gravy
Equipment: 2-quart saucepan, whisk, wooden spoon.
Preparation: About 30 minutes
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1 bulb of previously roasted garlic*
- ½ cup Sauvignon Blanc wine or other white wine
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme or 1 tablespoon dried
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped fine
- 2 cups chicken stock (beef stock can be used as well)
- Chicken base to taste if needed.
In the Saucier prepare a roux by melting butter over medium-low heat 225°F, and add flour by whisking in a little bit at a time. Using a wooden spoon stir often until roux smells like "cookies" and turns a light golden brown. Add the roasted garlic, mashing it into the roux.
Slowly add the wine, whisking until thoroughly combined and the alcohol is burned off. To the roux, add the chives, thyme and parsley, and mix well to combine. Add the chicken stock a little at a time, continue to simmer, stirring, until the gravy reaches the desired consistency. About 20 minutes.
*Roasted garlic; there are two ways to roast garlic 1) in the oven; Slice off the top of the bulb, and add a few drops of golden olive oil. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake in a 350°F oven, about 1 hour. 2) In a pan on top of the range: Separate bulb into individual cloves (do not peel). Sauté in 1 tablespoon of pure golden olive oil and 1 tablespoons unsalted butter in the 7.25 gourmet fry pan over medium heat 275°F until individual cloves are soft inside. Stir often.