1 cup stale breadcrumbs (or crushed crackers, or cooking oats)
½ cup milk
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large egg
¼ cup tomato sauce
1t freshly ground black pepper
½ cup tomato sauce
2T brown sugar
2T apple cider vinegar
Soak 1 cup of stale breadcrumbs, crushed crackers or quick-cooking oats in ½ cup milk for at least 10 minutes, or until the mixture is soft and mushy. Adding a starch is one of the keys to keeping meatloaf moist. Adding a dry starch draws moisture out of the meat, but soaking the starch in milk provides continuous moisture to the loaf as it cooks and helps bind the meat together.
For a classic meatloaf use finely diced onion and minced garlic. Saute the onion and garlic in a small amount of oil for about 5 minutes, or until they are soft. This releases the moisture from the vegetables and makes sure there are no crunchy bits in your finished loaf.
For a more flavourful meatloaf, try sauteing shredded carrot, finely diced celery or thinly sliced mushrooms with the onion and garlic.
Combine ingredients, adding the sauteed vegetables to the soaked breadcrumbs, along with egg, ¼ cup tomato sauce, salt and some freshly cracked pepper. Stir the mixture together until mixed well.
Crumble minced beef into a large bowl. You can use all minced beef, or combine it with a small amount of minced pork for more flavour. It’s important to use ground meat with a decent amount of fat to keep the loaf moist and tender, preferably 15 percent fat or higher.
Add the bowl of wet ingredients to the ground meat and mix with your hands just until the mixture looks even. Avoid overworking the meat, which makes for a very compact, pastelike meatloaf.
Shape the meat mixture into a loaf on a baking sheet covered with foil and lightly misted with nonstick spray. It may seem odd not to use a loaf pan for a meatloaf, but allowing air to circulate around the loaf as it cooks creates a nice caramelized crust on all the edges. Using a loaf pan traps the juices and causes the meat to stew rather than bake.
Make your glaze: there are several options for meatloaf glaze, from straight ketchup to your favorite barbecue sauce, but the following tangy sweet mixture of ketchup, brown sugar and apple cider vinegar is delicious. Stir together brown sugar and apple cider vinegar with ½ cup of tomato sauce.
Spoon the glaze over the entire loaf, making sure not to miss the sides.
Bake the meatloaf in a preheated 175ºC oven for 60 minutes.
Let the loaf rest for 10 minutes before slicing, to allow the juices to redistribute and the loaf to firm up.