I know what you are thinking… meatloaf on Fashionable Foods? While it may not be a very fashionable meal or a “Keri” meal as my family calls it, I’ve still decided to share this recipe. For one thing, I grew up eating meatloaf, and two it’s a good classic that everyone should have a good recipe for!
I’m about to throw you all for another loop when I tell you what I make my meatloaf out of. Ground venison! People are always surprised when I tell them I eat meat that came from a deer. I’m not really sure why people freak out over it because if you really think about it, it’s much better than buying mass-produced meat from the grocery store.
You really have no idea where your ground meat comes from when you buy it in a grocery store. It’s generally from a very large factory that mixes meat from thousands of different cows. If you go to a butcher and get your meat fresh ground or even grind your own, you know what cut of meat it’s coming from and that it probably came from one cow.
I don’t hunt, never did and never will. I could absolutely never kill an animal. However, I grew up around hunters. That being said, I also grew up eating venison and greatly prefer it to beef. I’ve said a million times I’m not a big meat eater, but when I do use ground meat it’s always venison. It’s lean and just tastes better to me.
Ok, enough about all of that. The point is to use whatever meat you want!
Classic meatloaf starts with eggs, ketchup, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper. I like to add in a little milk for moisture, and of course I have to add a fresh twist here and throw in some fresh parsley!
You want to mix it all together before you add your ground meat. If you add it all together you can end up with a tough meatloaf – no one wants that! It doesn’t look very pretty at this point, but I promise it’s full of good flavor and moisture for the loaf.
You then want to add in the meat and gently mix it with your hands – it’s not a pretty task, but your hands work best here. You don’t want a tough meatloaf!! So, mix it until just combined. Then form your loaf! I like free form meatloaves, but you could use a loaf pan if you prefer.
I like to serve my meatloaf with gravy, but you don’t really get any drippings. To solve that dilemma, I grab a chunk of the raw meat mixture (about the size of a meatball) and cook it up in a pan to make my gravy.
Doesn’t that just look delicious? Flavor right there!
Once your gravy is done, you can strain it into a serving bowl and discard the meat. I usually make it ahead of time and just heat it up when I’m ready to eat!
Growing up, meatloaf was always served with mashed potatoes and corn. You can see from my photos that I have green beans. I like all vegetables so I would serve it up with any, but mashed potatoes will definitely have to be there for me!
I definitely had my fair share of meatloaf while I was growing up. If you recall in my pork chop post, I said my grandmother (and mother) had four meals they rotated between – meatloaf was one of them!
If you’re looking for a good, classic, tried and true meatloaf recipe this is the one for you!
Classic meatloaf meets Fashionable Foods by getting a fresh twist – parsley! A simple ingredient takes a classic dish and makes it a little more special. Serve with mashed potatoes and veggies for a home-cooked classic meal.
½ Cup Ketchup, plus more for topping
½ Cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs
2 Tablespoons Milk
¼ Cup Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
1½ Teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
2 lbs. Ground Meat (beef, pork, venison, or turkey)
For the gravy (optional):
2 Tablespoons Butter
Reserved Meat Mixture, about the size of a meatball
2 Tablespoons Flour
2 Cups Beef Broth
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350º.
Using a box grater, grate ¾ of the onion into a large bowl. Chop the remaining ¼ onion into small dice and set aside for topping. Add the eggs, ketchup, breadcrumbs, milk, parsley, salt, and pepper to the onion; mix well. Add in the ground meat and gently mix with your hands until well combined. The meat should hold together well and not be falling apart and sticky. If it seems too wet, add in more breadcrumbs. If the mixture seems too dry, add in more ketchup.
If you plan on making gravy, pull off a chunk of meat (about the size of a meatball), and set it aside. Pour the meat mixture into a 9×13-inch baking dish and form into a loaf. If desired, cover the top of the loaf with a thin layer of ketchup (about 1-2 tablespoons) and top with reserved chopped onions.
Bake the meatloaf at 350º for 1 hour, or until a thermometer inserted into the center reads 160º (165º if using turkey). Remove from the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
For the gravy:
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter and add in the reserved meat mixture, breaking it up as it cooks. Cook until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over top of the meat and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the beef broth and cook the gravy until thick, about 5 minutes. Strain the gravy into a serving dish and discard the meat. Serve the gravy with the meatloaf.
- I use ground venison for my meatloaf because I always have it in the freezer. However, for a classic, juicy meatloaf I’d recommend using ground beef that is 80% lean. You can use leaner cuts and have no problem – venison is very lean and I still find it to turn out fine. If you really want that extra fat while using a lean cut, omit the milk and use 1/4 cup olive oil in your mixture.
- The topping is optional. I personally like it, so I always include it. If you choose to omit the topping, add in the whole onion to your raw meat mixture. Also, you could just chop the onion if you want, but I find the grated onion incorporates into the mixture better and provides more moisture.