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Ranch Meatloaf
Total 30 mins, includes cooling time
Active 30 mins
Makes 2 loafs; 6 servings
Growing up, I did not like meatloaf at all. Looking back, I realize my dislike stemmed from the dominant flavor of ketchup in most meatloaf recipes. Years later, I revisited the idea of meatloaf, and now it is one of my favorite comfort foods. I swapped out the ketchup for real onions, garlic, tomatoes, and fresh herbs from the garden. I started cooking the onions before mixing them with the meat; the cooking process mellows the flavor, and gives the whole dish a warm, slightly sweeter flavor. On Sundays, I’ll often make this meatloaf because I know the kids will be happy to eat it for dinner, and we can use the leftovers for the days ahead. Austin especially likes to heat up a slice on the griddle and put it on toasted sourdough bread for a warm meatloaf sandwich.
TIP: This is the perfect time to use up the heels of your sliced bread to make breadcrumbs. A meat thermometer is helpful in making sure the meatloaf is fully cooked.
Special Equipment
2 standard loaf pans, a meat thermometer
Special Equipment
2 standard loaf pans, a meat thermometer
Ingredients
    • 2 to 4 heels of sliced bread (see Cook's Note)
    • 2 medium onions
    • 4 garlic cloves (peeled)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
    • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
    • 4 pounds ground beef
    • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
    • 2 cups canned diced tomatoes (drained)
    • Kosher salt
    • 2 large sprigs of thyme, to decorate top of meatloaf
    Directions
    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
    2. Pulse bread in a food processor to make fine crumbs (about 1 cup) and set aside. Use processor to finely chop onions and garlic.
    3. Heat olive oil in a heavy pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions are just beginning to turn translucent and golden, about 10 minutes. Add parsley and thyme and keep cooking until parsley has wilted and mixed with other ingredients. Turn off heat.
    4. In a large mixing bowl, combine beef, eggs, tomatoes, and 2 to 4 teaspoons of salt. Add onion mixture and bread crumbs and mix everything together with your hands.
    5. Transfer the mixture to 2 standard loaf pans and press it in gently, rounding the top of each loaf. Place a sprig of fresh thyme on top of each meatloaf. Bake until meatloaf is slightly browned on top and the inside has reached 160°F on a meat thermometer, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let the meatloaf cool for about 15 minutes, then cut slices directly from the pan and serve.