"This is a culmination of all the meat loaves I've ever eaten," says Andrew Curren, chef-partner of 24 Diner in Austin. "My mom always made a good meat loaf—it never had the tomato goo on top of it. Then I tasted a meat loaf that had cheese in it; that was a good idea. In Italy, I was introduced to soffritto and realized the importance of cooking with carrots, onion, celery." Curren serves the meat loaf with creamy gravy, which is also excellent on lunchtime meat loaf sandwiches.
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1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds ground beef chuck
1 pound ground pork
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a very large bowl and let cool. Add the panko, eggs, mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper and stir to form a paste. Using your hands, work in the ground meats and cheese until combined.
Line a large roasting pan with parchment paper. Firmly pat the meat mixture into 2 loaves, about 10 inches long. Arrange the loaves 3 inches apart on the parchment and roast in the lower third of the oven for about 1 hour, until lightly browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the loaves registers 150°. Let the meat loaves rest for 15 minutes, then cut into thick slices and serve with the Creamy Onion Gravy.
The baked meat loaves can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days. Cut the meat loaves into thick slices and brown in a skillet to serve.
Medium-bodied Rhône-style red blend.
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