A meatloaf recipe in late June? Why not, when it’s as delicious as this one? The plus to this one is that it needs to be refrigerated before baking, so you can make it the night before and chill it in its baking dish. Best of all, you have sandwiches for the rest of the week. This is a true keeper!
PHOENICIA DINER HERBED MINI MEATLOAVES
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 large eggs
- ½ pound ground pork
- 1½ pounds ground beef (80% lean)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- ½ cup tomato ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- In a large skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion and garlic, then season with the salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, and rosemary.
- Reduce the heat down to medium-low, and give everything a stir. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally to keep the onion from browning, until the onion is soft and translucent, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for at least 5 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk, panko, cooled onion (set the oily skillet aside; you'll need it again), and eggs and stir together. The mixture will be the texture of loose cornbread batter—this is your panade.
- To the milk-panko mixture, add the pork and beef and combine using your hands or a wooden spoon.
- Add the Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and mustard and continue mixing, working along the sides of the bowl to fold the meat over itself and back into the mixture, until thoroughly combined. The mixture will be loose and quite wet but will hold its shape in the bowl.
- Reheat the skillet over high heat. When a droplet of water sizzles and disappears, it's hot enough for cooking.
- Pat a large pinch (about 1 tablespoon) of the meatloaf mixture into a small patty (this is a mini tester patty) and lay it in the pan, cooking until brown and crusty, 1 or 2 minutes per side. Taste the meatloaf for seasoning, adding more salt as needed.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet or a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil.
- Divide the meat into 6 equal portions (about a heaping ¾ cup each). Using damp hands, pat each portion into an oval about 2 inches thick and 4 inches wide, pressing down gently on the top to make the shape of a small slightly deflated football. Lay the meatloaf on the foil-lined baking sheet.
- Repeat with the remaining meat until you have 6 small loaves, spacing them evenly across the pan. (If you find yourself with a bit of extra meat, make one more loaf.)
- Slide the baking sheet into the fridge and chill, uncovered, for at least 20 minutes, or overnight. (You want the meat to be cold when it goes into the oven so that it retains more of its moisture.)
- While the meatloaves are chilling, position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Remove the pan with the loaves from the fridge and slide it directly into the oven.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate 180 degrees and cook until the loaves bounce back to a gentle touch and have become russetty brown on top and deeper brown around the bases (where the loaves will have given off some fat), about 25 minutes.
- Remove the loaves from the oven and let them cool on their baking sheet. (The meatloaf will continue to cook a bit as it sits; don't be tempted to continue cooking in the oven.)
- Let rest 10 to 15 minutes on the baking sheet so the loaves can firm up a bit before serving.