In a meeting surrounded by women I was given the challenge to make meatloaf. Challenge accepted.
Why meatloaf? I haven’t had it since I left home. When I was very young I would help my mom. As I grew up it became a monthly meal that magically appeared on the table. When I left home my need for it just drifted away.
While chopping the onion, mushrooms & garlic I tried to remember why I haven’t had meatloaf since. What young adult trying to make their way in the world stops to make meatloaf? It’s not even a consideration. Who would miss it surrounded by university parties & late night cram sessions.
The onions where caramelizing nicely, the garlic was turning from kick-in-the-pants to hint-of-sweetness, and the mushrooms had soaked up the right amount of butter and salt. As as I added the corn at the end ( to thaw and mix ) I came up with another reason why I hadn’t thought of this particular meal.
It’s not romantic. Just say the word “meatloaf”. When I told my partner I was going to make her meatloaf I could see her working through the confusion of ‘why oh why?’ and ‘if he really wants to do this, I’ll support him’. It wasn’t like the time when I made crepes – that was romance.
This is when things went wrong. You see this picture to the left? You see how the meat is bubbling out of the pan (note the extra in the other pan, slightly out of focus). The pictures I saw of this stage floating around the web have the meat flat, completely in the pan.
What went wrong?
I put in the
bread crumbs smashed croutons, milk, eggs, sautéed mix, and 1/3 of the glaze. I lightly mixed it all together with the meat. When it came time to put in the pan – why was there so much?
In Canada we have Metric. Most western Americanized recipes use Imperial.
1 kg = 2.2 lb
Seems in my effort to add up to 2, for my meat medley, I was adding up the wrong 2. I had now inadvertently screwed it all up making, 2 kg, or better known as 4.4lb, of meatloaf. This of course changed my timing, and the meat to mix ratio was way off.
At least my glaze turned out great.
Heat & Cook
I had missed the window to have a perfect meal ready, waiting on the table for my girlfriend when she came home. It was now 7:50pm, time to pick her up from work, without having put anything in the oven. On the counter was a raw slab waiting. The question I had was, if the originally recipe called for 1-1.5hr at 350F how long would twice as much need?
I found a message board stting it would need 2-2.5hr for 5lb. Not good. Since it was now 8:30pm that wouldn’t work. So I justified that my oven cooked on the hotter side. Plus, I had a good amount of mix that didn’t fit (remember the photo above?), so I wasn’t actually going to cook twice as much, no, it was only slightly more.
I figured 1.5hrs would be good.
I chose to cross my fingers and hope it was cooked through to eat at least by 10pm.
The Gamble Worked
It wasn’t the most disgusting thing I ever ate. My girlfriend gave it an 8.5 out of 10. Not bad accounting the slight inflation from love. I was just glad I could have dinner ready for 10pm.
After eating here’s what we decided would be good for next time (hint: she agreed that there would be a next time – also a good sign).
- Get the mix right – 2lb is 2lb. This should give more flavour to the fillings
- Glaze while cooking – I had lathered all the glaze on top before cooking. And we thought maybe a re-glaze every 10-15min would let some thicken while keeping some nice and moist
- More glaze – we’re sauce lovers so the ability to take some of the glaze after and use it as a dip or spread would have been a nice treat
Did I mention this was the mess I brought my partner home to?
Time to clean.
All Said and done
I think once I get it right, my fond memories of meatloaf just might move me to make it for my kids. Sure, I expect them to forget about it for a while. But when they hit their 30’s, or if they should have kids before then, I’ll have a little challenge waiting for them. Something to remember me by.