1 lb ground beef (80/20 is preferable, but definitely no leaner than 85/15)
1 large carrot, diced fine
1 large rib of celery, diced fine
1 medium onion, diced, you guessed it, fine (Yellow or red is fine)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 piece of white sandwich bread, crusts removed
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp tomato paste
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp oil
1 tsp butter
salt and papper
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. ketchup
1.5 tbsp. cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp. brown sugar
pinch of cayenne pepper
**I know these ingredient lists look long, but if you actually take a look at what’s on them, it’s almost all things that you have on hand already.
Because I know the importance and value of leftover meatloaf, I will tell you that this recipe makes enough for 2 with leftovers, or enough for 3 or 4 without. It’s a little guy; hence, the little red meatloaf! I’d wager that you could easily double this recipe, but you may have to adjust your cooking times.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Melt the butter and oil together over medium-low heat, then sauté the carrot, onion, and celery with a tsp of salt for 6-7 seven minutes, until they are softened and translucent. We’re not looking to brown here.
Then add the garlic and thyme and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Put the piece of bread in a large bowl and pour the milk over it. Mash this up with a spoon or fork.
Add the vegetables from the pan to the bowl, followed by the ground beef and the breadcrumbs. This is where you want to mix the meatloaf together, preferably with your hands. It’s pretty critical that you are gentle in this process. Don’t compact the meat or overwork it; this is what produces that tough, chewy loaf in the end product. Instead you want to use your fingers to mix until everything is just combined.
Turn the mixture out onto the parchment, and shape into a loaf. This is where the parchment comes in handy. Bring the sides of the parchment up and use them to gently press the meat into the shape you want.
While the meat is cooking, you want to prepare the glaze, which is super easy. Simply add all of the glaze ingredients into a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, until the mixture has darkened, and thickened. A good trick is to hold the pan upright, and if the glaze doesn’t slide down the bottom but clings to it, you are there.
Just set the glaze aside, and once the meatloaf has cooked for those initial increments at 350 and 400, pull it out and paint the top and sides of the meatloaf with the glaze. Then crank the broiler on and bake for about 3 minutes, until the glaze has darkened even more and formed a tantalizingly sticky exterior.
Pull the meatloaf out and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before digging in!