Meatloaf is a meal made from ground meat, mixed with vegetables, herbs and spices, and pressed into a loaf shape. It’s a classic family favorite, dating back to the . Meatloaf can be very versatile. It is great with jacket potatoes, or with potatoes and veg. You can change the meats and spices you use, and it’s a great way of introducing kids to new flavors, without anything too different and scary. A common problem people have when they try to make their own meatloaf, is that it isn’t as moist as they would like. Here are some secrets to getting it just right.
Use Meat with a High Fat Content
We’re all looking for ways to cut the fat in our diets nowadays. Don’t be tempted to do this with your meatloaf. You need meat with a high fat content, and preferably a mix of different meats. Beef, veal, pork and lamb are the best choices. Pork is especially fatty and will bind all your other meats together.
Don’t Compact the Meat
Try not to over mix, or compact your meat too tightly when you shape it. If you do this it will need longer to cook than a loose mixture, which will lead to a much drier meatloaf.
Cook Your Vegetables First
Don’t add raw vegetables to the meat, cook them a little first. This will ensure they don’t take moisture from the meat to help them cook. They’ll be nice and juicy, adding to the moisture. Carrots, onions and celery are the classic meatloaf vegetables, but feel free to try different combinations.
Soak the Bread in Milk
Stale bread is one of the most important ingredients in a meatloaf. It’s used to bind everything together, allowing you to shape the meatloaf. It also gives it that lovely meatloaf texture. Soak your bread in milk before you add it to your mix for just long enough for it to become thick and mushy.
Don’t Use a Loaf Tin
Don’t put your mix in a tin of any kind. This again leads to a slower bake, and a drier meatloaf. Free form a loaf shape onto a baking sheet, or greaseproof paper. This will allow for a faster bake, giving you a nice crispy outside and a moist middle.
Let it Rest
When you cook any meat joint, you should leave it to rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving it. Meatloaf is no different. Leaving it whole for this time will allow all its own juices and moisture to settle. If you cut it open straight away, a lot of the moisture will leak out. This will mean all the work you’ve done to make sure it is moist will have been in vain.
Following these tips will help you make perfect meatloaf, whatever combination of meat and vegetables you use. Remember to follow the last two carefully, or all the work you do with your ingredients will be lost. If you think you’re ready to have a go at making your own perfectly moist meatloaf, and are ready to put these secrets into practice, have a go at this easy meatloaf recipe.