Meatloaf is an ideal dish for the meat lovers. It provides ample scope for experimentation with different ingredients and bring in variation in flavour and taste. We start by selecting the kind of meat (minced) that you prefer – lamb, mutton, pork, beef or even chicken – just whatever you like. You may even combine them. I have prepared this dish with lamb, mutton and chicken; my personal favourite is of course the one prepared with mutton. Meatloaves prepared with minced mutton or lamb meat are usually juicier than that of chicken due to the more fat content in mutton or lamb meat.
Minced meat: 500 grams
Garlic: 3-4, chopped
Ginger: 1 inch piece, chopped
Worcestershire sauce: 2 tbsp
Lemon juice: 2 tbsp
Oats: half cup, soaked in a cup of milk (it helps in retaining the necessary moisture in the loaf)
1 carrot: finely chopped
Sweet corn: half cup
1 onion: finely chopped
1 chilli: finely chopped
Freshly crushed pepper: 1 tbsp
Chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste
Note: in case you don’t have any of the ingredients like – carrot, sweet corn, oats or Worcestershire sauce don’t worry. Moreover, just feel free to experiment by adding any herb or spice you have at your spice rack. Say, you may replace Worcestershire sauce with tomato ketchup. And, one of the reasons behind adding vegetables (carrot, sweet corn, coriander) is to make the meatloaf more healthy. In fact, for the strictly non-vegetarians (like some of my cousins) it is nothing but an excuse to make them include some vegetables in their meaty diet.
Now, mix all the ingredients with the minced meat to make a dough. You can either use a bread tin or simply shape it like a loaf on a baking tray.
Although, here I have used a round shaped tray; that’s why the meatloaf looks more like a pie than a loaf.
Pre-heat your oven for about 8-10 mins at around 170-180 degrees C. Put the meatloaf (in the baking tray) in the oven. Reduce the temperature to ~130°C. Let it bake gradually rather than at a high temperature.
After 40 minutes, you may bring it out of the oven and brush over some pasta or pizza sauce mixed with herbs. (If you don’t like the hassle of brushing the sauce over it or like the loaf to remain plain and simple, you may avoid it.) Again, put it inside the oven, and bake it further for 20 minutes.
In total, bake it for 60 minutes. Depending on the quality of meat you can accordingly adjust the time for baking .
Remove the baking tray. Ideally, you will find some juices around the meatloaf, particularly if it is red meat. Pour it in a container (you’ll have a healthy and tasty stew as a bonus). Let the meatloaf cool for a while. Slice it into pieces just like a bread loaf and serve.