Chef’s Notes: In general, I dislike meatloaf. It’s like a giant hamburger with onions and ketchup. But for some reason, I want to like it, so I’m always experimenting with different recipes. When I found this recipe, I was intrigued by the “that’s-not-meatloaf” ingredients like strawberry jam, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, and hot peppers.
This particular concoction is inspired by that recipe. I used quite a few of the same ingredients, but omitted a few things and substituted others. And I roasted and pureed the vegetables because I don’t like tiny bits of veggies in my meatloaf. It’s tasty, and better than traditional meatloaf, but it’s still not quite a 5 star.
Step One: The Vegetables
1 medium onion, cut in half
1 shallot, divided into sections
1/2 red bell pepper, cut in half
1 carrot, cut into chunks
1 stalk of celery, cut into chunks
4 cloves of garlic
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place all vegetables except garlic on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Cut the ends from the garlic cloves, wrap in foil, and place on baking sheet. Cook vegetables until lightly browned and very tender. Remove garlic from foil and pop them out of the outer skin. Place all vegetables in food processor and mix until pureed.
Step Two: The Sauce
1/3 C. ketchup
1 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. strawberry jam
2 T. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 tsp. Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy seasoning blend (or crushed red pepper)
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. thyme
Dash of salt and pepper
Place all ingredients in bowl and whisk until blended.
Step Three: The Meat and Stuff
3/4# ground beef
1/2# ground pork
1 egg, beaten
1/4 C. panko breadcrumbs
Place all ingredients in bowl. Add The Vegetables and The Sauce and mix with hands to incorporate.
Divide the meat mixture into six equal portions, shape into oval mini-loaves, and place on baking sheet. Cook 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes.d