I've never been a meat loaf fan but for some obscure reason I tried recipe after recipe looking for one I could love. When I came across this in James Beard's American Cookery, I knew I'd found my meat loaf at last. For one thing, it is covered in bacon. For another, it has strong seasoning anchored by sausage. For the third thing ... did I mention the bacon?
Another advantage is that you shape the loaf without putting it in a loaf pan. That means it isn't soggy because the fat has somewhere else to go than soaking into the loaf. That makes the texture nice and firm.
It is the meat loaf I cooked for my family winter after winter and I really love it.
Favorite Meat Loaf
2 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork (sausage meat will do)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 fairly large onion, finely chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon summer savory (I never have this on hand and it works fine without it)
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Bacon or salt pork cut in strips
Thoroughly blend the meats, garlic, onion, seasonings, and crumbs.
Add the eggs and blend again.
Arrange the bacon or salt pork slices on the bottom of a shallow baking pan or dish 1 to 1-1/2 inches deep. (I use a jelly roll pan.)
Form the meat into a loaf of rather even proportions and lay it upon the strips. Lay a few additional strips of bacon or pork across the top of the loaf. Bake at 350 degrees 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
Test with a meat thermometer, and when its center has reached 150 degrees it is done.
The recipe says to baste, but that's what the bacon on top is for. Am I right? Of course I am!