Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Snigdha's Marvellously Manageable Meatloaf

Him Indoors loves Meatloaf. Not the ever-so-over-the-top American rock star, but the quintessentially thrifty English suppertime dish. Trouble is, I've never been able to get it right so far. Mainly because the final version has ended up over oily, fatty or greasy. And if you make a greasy Meatloaf, although you may be able to stomach it when hot, there is no way in this world you will manage to eat it cold in sandwiches. The fat will congeal and I think I need say not more. The word 'congeal' will work its magic upon you and you will feel the same revulsion I did on trying to make sandwiches out of the self same super-fatty Meatloaf.

So I'd been wondering how to rehabilitate this great suppertime dish without stacks of fuss and bother. The answer was revealed to me in the most unlikely place. Whilst shopping in Lewisham, I happened to wander into TX Maxx. Although Robbie Williams and I will never be friends, he was right in his observation about the value for money to be found in that particular shop. Amongst other things I found in there was a bespoke loaf tin for making meatloaf. Bespoke because it anticipated the greasiness problem and inbuilt a means for draining off the excess fat during the cooking process. Score!

My new purchase from TK Maxx! Bargain!
So here is my recipe for a herby and flavourful meatloaf. It is perfect with mashed potatoes and gravy.

Serves 2-3 as a main course with mashed potatoes


320-350g pork mince
500g beef mince
100g pancetta slices
75g white (or homemade) breadcrumbs
1 small-medium onion, very finely diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed or very finely diced
1 egg, beaten in a mug
2 fresh bay leaves
2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
5 leaves sage, very finely chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp paprika powder
2 sprigs thyme, leaves removed, finely chopped (just under 1 teaspoon)
A decent glug (between ½-1 tsp) Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
My aromatics and flavourings


  1. Preheat the oven to 175 C (non fan oven).
  2. Melt the butter in a non-stick frying pan, and add the olive oil.
  3. Now add the onion and 2 bay leaves. Fry for 4 mins on a gentle heat.

  4. Add the garlic and fry for another 5-6 mins. Do not allow to brown, turn down the heat if necessary. Remove the bay leaves and allow to cool.
  5. Mix the minced meats, herbs, paprika, worcester sauce, mustard, cooled onion and garlic, salt and pepper very thoroughly. You will get your hands rather dirty but it is totally worth it!

  6. Now add the egg. You can beat it in advance, but frankly, the only way of mixing thoroughly is with your fingers, so it is not really worth it. Work through the mixture very thoroughly.
  7. Add the breadcrumbs and mix again. Work all the way through the mixture.
  8. The mix will start to firm now, and it should be easy to work into a loaf type shape to fit your tin.
  9. Shape and place in the tin allowing a little space each side.
  10. Now place your pancetta strips along the whole meatloaf, leaving no gaps. The pancetta will insulate the mince from the heat of the oven and impart its smoky flavours into the meatloaf.

  11. Cook for 45 mins to 1 hour until the pancetta is beginning to brown.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10-15 mins before carving.

  13. Serve with mashed potatoes and gravy.

    The proof the pan works - the icky grease which was left behind

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