Childhood Meatloaf, Updated
Serves 4 to 6
1-1/4 pounds lean ground beef (90-93%) or ground turkey
1 slice sandwich bread (white, whole wheat, or other)
¼ cup milk
1 large egg
½ of a large green pepper, finely minced
1 small onion, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced or put through a garlic press
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
5 ounces sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, cut into very small cubes
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup ketchup
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon vinegar
A splash of white wine (a tablespoon or so)
One large pinch of freshly-ground black pepper
2 thick slices of bacon, cut in half crosswise
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and grease a 9 x 5 –inch metal loaf pan (for glass, lower the oven to 325 degrees F).
Tear the bread into small pieces and put them in a small bowl. Pour the milk over the bread and let it soak for a few minutes while you get the other ingredients ready. Put all the other meatloaf ingredients into a large bowl. Squeeze the bread to make sure it’s completely moistened with all the milk (add a little more milk if you need to), then add it to the other meatloaf ingredients. Using your hands, gently mix it all together so it’s nicely uniform. Scoop the mixture into the loaf pan and even it out.
Combine all the topping ingredients except the bacon in a small saucepan and heat until the butter is melted and it’s nice and bubbly. Spread the topping over the meatloaf, then arrange the four half-slices of bacon on top, running diagonally if they don’t fit straight across. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. The internal temperature should be around 140 to 145 degrees for beef, 160 for turkey. If the bacon isn’t crispy, turn on the broiler and put the pan under it for a couple of minutes – watching carefully – until the bacon is nicely browned. Take the pan from the oven and let the meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.