During the past few weeks, I just wanted a cold meatloaf sandwich. Not an actual loaf of meat, but two slices of soft, un-artisinal bread sandwiching cold slices of meatloaf, ketchup, and mayonnaise.
Unfortunately, you have to make hot meatloaf to get cold meatloaf.
Growing up, meatloaf was always one of my favorite foods. My mom’s version was very simple and included few ingredients such as ground beef, instant oats, and tomato juice. It was always glazed with a mixture of ketchup and brown sugar and lacquered with strips of bacon.
One busy evening back home, Jake’s mother and I went to the grocery store in search of dinner. She hesitantly suggested meatloaf sandwiches and was unprepared for my exuberant response. She may have thought they were too simple, but I couldn’t have been happier. I really, truly love meatloaf sandwiches. Anybody’s meatloaf sandwiches.
I flipped through a cookbook my mom used to own. The Ebeneezer Campus Cookbook is bound together with a bright, blue spiral bind. It contains a compilation of recipes contributed by the employees, residents, and volunteers of Ebeneezer Ridges, Burnsville, MN, where my grandma spent her final years, trapped in a dense cloud of advanced Alzheimer’s. She passed away eight years after her husband and two years after her daughter (my mother).
I riffed on Eva Anderson’s recipe for Mom’s Meat Loaf. Meatloaf seems like a good food to make up for some lost mothering. And although I may sometimes appear like I wrinkle my nose at others’ fussy attempts at mothering, rest assured that I probably like it.
A Cook’s Notes
I tried to substitute equal part soy sauce for salt and my finished meatloaf was under-salted. If you want to use tamari, add an extra glug. The best way to test uncooked meatloaf or meatball mix is to quickly saute a pinch of it in a hot pan and taste for seasoning.
I’d Like A Meatloaf Sandwich Meatloaf
1 1/2 pounds of meatloaf mix or meatball mix (or some combination of beef, pork and/or veal)
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1/2 carton of mushrooms, finely chopped
1 medium onion, minced
Extra virgin olive oil or butter
1 cup instant oats/quick cooking oats/ old fashioned oats
1/4 cup + chili sauce (Yes, the bottled stuff)
1 heaping Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg
1/4 cup water
Black pepper to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt or a couple good glugs of soy or tamari (all to taste)
Thickly cut strips of bacon
Mustard (I used a glop of Maille)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a pan, saute the celery, onion and mushrooms until soft and translucent. A little crunch is OK if you like some bite to your loaf. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
In a bowl, combine the ground meat, oats, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, egg, sauteed vegetables, salt, and pepper. Your hands are your best tools for this step.
Pack the meatloaf mixture into a loaf pan, or shape on a sheet pan or dish.
To make the glaze mixture, mix the chili sauce, ketchup, mustard, sugar, salt, and cayenne pepper to taste. Feel free to improvise with these ingredients or try barbecue sauce.
Generously spread the glaze on the meatloaf.
Cover the glazed meatloaf with strips of bacon.
Bake for about an hour or until cooked through. Glaze more than once if you’d like.
If the bacon is not rendered enough when the meatloaf is finished cooking, broil until caramelized.
I served our meatloaf with roasted asparagus and basmati rice.