Serious Eats: Recipes

Eat for Eight Bucks: Meatloaf

[Photograph: Robin Bellinger]

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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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