Eat for Eight Bucks: Meatloaf

[Photograph: Robin Bellinger]

Shopping List

1/2 pound ground beef: $2.00
1/4 pound ground pork: $1.00
1 onion: $0.50
1 egg: $0.25
1 pound potatoes: $1.00
1 pound broccoli: $2.00

Pantry items: Fennel seeds, chile flakes, salt, pepper, ketchup, garlic, bread crumbs.

Total cost (for 3 portions): $6.75

I've always liked the idea of meatloaf more than the reality, but by swapping Italian sausage for ground pork and veal, Matt and Ted Lee made it something I look forward to. (The fact that they encourage the lightest possible blending of ingredients before baking doesn't hurt, either.) Even if you make your own ersatz sausage by seasoning plain ground pork, this dinner is just as fast as, and even tastier than, the standard loaf.

A few procedural notes: If you don't keep a bottle of ketchup around, you'll have to buy some for this recipe. The Worcestershire, Tabasco, and parsley, though recommended, are not absolutely crucial. You might add a few shakes of fish sauce or even a minced anchovy filet or two instead of Worcestershire sauce, depending on the state of your pantry.

You can, of course, double the recipe, adding about 10 more minutes to the first stage of baking, if you'd rather have leftovers than stick to the eight buck budget.


I steamed some broccoli and made very simple mashed potatoes by boiling potatoes in salted water, putting them through a ricer, then beating them vigorously with a wooden spoon while dribbling in their cooking water and a pat or two of butter.

Perhaps you're wondering who eats meatloaf in late June? In that case, I must reveal that I am wearing leggings and a long sweater as I type at my desk in chilly San Francisco. If your situation is more summery, you could bake this in the cool of the evening and have cold meatloaf sandwiches for dinner the next day. Like all such dishes, it improves overnight.

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Eat for Eight Bucks: Meatloaf

About This Recipe

Yield:2 to 3

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chile flakes
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper vinegar sauce, such as Tabasco (optional)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Procedures

  1. 1

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Put the beef and pork into a large bowl and break them up into chunks the size of golf balls. In a different bowl, whisk the fennel seeds and chile flakes into 1/4 cup ketchup, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, and 1 teaspoon pepper vinegar sauce. Pour this mixture evenly over the meat. Scatter the onion, garlic, and, if using, parsley over the meat, and then sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the top along with a rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grindings of pepper. Add the egg and use your fingers or two forks to blend the ingredients thoroughly, using as few and as gentle strokes as possible.

  2. 2

    Put the meat mixture on a rimmed baking sheet and pat it into a loaf shape. Bake for 25 minutes.

  3. 3

    While the meat loaf bakes, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup, teaspoon Worcestershire, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper vinegar sauce together in a small bowl. When the meat loaf comes out of the oven, brush it generously with this glaze. Return the loaf to the oven and continue to bake until the glaze stiffens and darkens a bit, about 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

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