This is the ultimate fall comfort food. A meatloaf for people who don't think they like meatloaf. The apple adds a sweet, apple flavor that perfectly accents the savory, hearty flavors of the meat. And unlike other meatloaf recipes that sometimes turn out dry and bland, this one is perfectly moist and juicy, even if you use lean ground beef.
I've entered it into the "Uppermost Chef" apple recipe contest. So please vote for it if you think it looks tasty! click on the "Vote" link in the upper right corner.
Step 1: Ingredients:
- 2 lb ground beef. (the leanest you can find)
l large onion, finely chopped
2 c. finely chopped apples (grated apples work well too, but use a bit less, about 1 2/3 cup)
1 1/2 c. bread chunks (torn up bread)
- 1/4 c milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 T chopped parsley
2 T butter
1/2 t. pepper
1 t. salt
1/2 t. allspice (or use chinese five spice, or mix cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves)
1 T yellow mustard
1/4 cup ketchup
Step 2: Firs Things First: Cook Onions, and Preheat Oven.
First, preheat the oven to 350.
Next, chop the onions and saute them in the butter. Use very low heat, and keep it covered while you prepare the other ingredients. The steam helps keep them from burning, so add a spoonful of water each time you remove the lid to stir it. Once they've started to get translucent, just turn the heat off and it will keep cooking.
Step 3: Chop or Grate the Apples
I like mine with juicy chunks of apple, so I chop the apples on the chunky side (1/4 inch diced) but that causes the meatloaf to be a bit crumbly. If you shred the apples, or chop them finely, the loaf holds together a bit better. It's up to you. Also, shredded apples take up less space than chunky chopped apples, so you might want to use a bit less than 2 cups if you shred them.
Step 4: Mash Bread Chunks With Milk
This is an old trick to make meatloaf hold it's moisture. It also works very well with meatballs or burgers.
Take some bread and tear it into bits. then add just enough milk to moisten it, and mash it into a paste. Mix it with the spices and mash it thoroughly into your ground meat and it will keep it tender and moist.
Step 5: Mix in All the Other Ingredients (except Meat)
Add everything except the meat and stir it all up.
Step 6: Mix in the Ground Beef
The easiest way to do this is to use your hands. Wash them thoroughly first. Mix it for a few minutes so everything is thoroughly blended and there are no pockets of visible egg or bread paste. If you're squeemish about touching your food, use a potato masher.
Step 7: Bake It
Put it into a pan and form it into a nice loaf shape. Decorate the top with some chopped apple chunks pressed into the meat. You can use either a flat brownie pan, or a deeper bread loaf pan (like the one I used). It cooks quicker and more evenly in the brownie pan, and each piece has plenty of "crust". But the deeper pan has that traditional meatloaf shape, and this is my most photogenic pan, so I'm using it this time.
If you cook it in the brownie pan, it should take about 1 hour.
If you use the bread loaf pan, it will take a bit longer, around 1:20.
Use a thermometer to make sure it's done. It should be 170 in the middle
Don't worry about it drying out inside, the apples and bread/milk paste will guarantee it holds it's moisture.
Step 8: Eat It!
I like to dip mine in cold ketchup. It goes well with potatoes, and a nice glass of cider (of course).