Comfort food “gives emotional comfort to the one eating it; these tend to be favorite foods of childhood, or linked to a person, place or time with which the food has a positive association,” says the dictionary.
Meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches and Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafer Icebox cake rank among my favorite “comfort foods,” a list that could continue.
One can make meatloaf a hundred different ways, but this recipe cranks the dish up a notch or two.
“It’s not your mother’s meatloaf,” many might say.
But, in fact, this is my mother’s recipe.
My sister Laura shared it to me. She has been making it for years and said she had gotten it from our mother. Laura altered it a little, and then I altered just a little more. The original recipe called for more salt and cayenne than I could tolerate.
In a bit of a twist, this recipe calls for cinnamon and nutmeg, two spices I might never consider for meatloaf. Most meatloaves I’m familiar with generally include a blend of ground beef, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, egg and breadcrumbs, topped with a spicy sauce.
Adding these spices provides some kick. Try it. You’ll like it.
A Spicy Meatloaf
2 teaspoons of salt
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of black pepper
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
3 tablespoons of butter
2 bay leaves
¾ cup of white onion, diced
½ cup of celery, diced
¼ cup of red pepper, diced
¼ cup of green pepper, diced
2 teaspoons of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of Tabasco
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce (gluten-free)
½ cup of ketchup
1½ pounds of lean ground beef
½ pound ground pork
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup of fresh gluten-free breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
In a small bowl mix all of the spices together and set aside. In a skillet melt the butter and add the bay leaf. Add the onion, celery, red and green peppers and sauté until they are tender. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two. Stir in the spices and then turn off the heat and let stand.
In a large mixing bowl combine the ground beef and pork. Mix in the spice and vegetable blend, the eggs, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and bread crumbs. Mix just enough to combine the ingredients — you don’t want over knead the mixture. Once well blended, press the meat mixture into a loaf pan.
Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes at 350° F and then increase the temperature to 400° F and bake for another 10 minutes. When done, remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it stand for 15 to 20 minutes. This helps it settle so that it will be easier to slice and won’t fall apart.