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Eric Akis: Meatloaf for two, a comfort-food classic

By popular request, chef serves up another easy recipe that serves two
Tender, flavourful meatloaf served with garlic-mashed potatoes and charred broccoli. ERIC AKIS

As noted in a recent column, over the last long while, I have been getting requests from readers for recipes that serve two. Dinners a couple could enjoy while nestled in at home looking forward to the day the pandemic ends.

I’ve cooked up quite a few of them and today have another one, a comfort food classic: meatloaf. It’s a dish with a less than glamourous name than can taste absolutely wonderful when seasoned and handled right.

My latest version of it is a free form loaf cooked on a baking sheet. It’s richly flavoured with such things as Dijon mustard, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and onion powder. Those and the other ingredients used, such as an egg and a bit of milk, make the beef mixture fairly moist, yielding a tender meatloaf. The especially true if you don’t vigorously mix the ingredients together, which could compact the ground meat and make the meatloaf tougher in texture when cooked.

I served the meatloaf with gravy and country-style garlic mashed potatoes. As you’ll see in the recipe for the potatoes, it’s a more rustic-style preparation where the potatoes are mashed with the skins on.

You can serve the meatloaf and potatoes with a green vegetable, such as peas or green beans. Or, do what I did, and serve it with charred broccoli. To make it, you cook and occasionally turn small broccoli florets a few minutes in a hot, oil-free skillet, until starting to char around the edges. You then add a bit of water to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and simmer and steam the broccoli until bright green and just tender.

Meatloaf for Two

Tender, full-of-flavour meatloaf, that you can plate and serve with gravy, mashed potatoes and a green vegetable, such as broccoli, peas or beans.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 35 to 40 minutes

Makes: two servings

1 large egg

2 Tbsp milk

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp horseradish

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, plus a splash

1 tsp soy sauce

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1 large garlic clove, minced

1/2 tsp onion powder

3 Tbsp dried breadcrumbs

1/2 tsp salt

• freshly ground black pepper, to taste

400 grams lean ground beef

2 Tbsp barbecue sauce or HP sauce

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups beef stock

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place beef, egg, milk, mustard, horseradish, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, thyme, garlic, onion powder, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Gently mix to combine. Set beef mixture in the middle of the baking sheet. Moisten your hands lightly with cold water, and then shape the meat into a loaf-shape that about seven-inches long and four-inches wide. Brush the top of the meatloaf with barbecue sauce (or HP sauce). Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the centre of the meatloaf reaches 160 F or above on an instant-read meat thermometer.

While meatloaf bakes, make gravy by placing the butter in a small pot set over medium heat. When butter is melted, mix in the flour and cook and stir two to three minutes, until a brown roux forms. Slowly, while stirring steadily, whisk in 1/2 cup of the stock. When mixture becomes thick, slowly whisk in remaining stock. Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce, bring gravy to a simmer, simmer two minutes, and then remove from the heat and cover.

When cooked, set meatloaf on a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest a few minutes. While it rests, return gravy to a simmer, taste it, and season with salt and pepper, as needed. Slice and plate the meatloaf and serve with the gravy.

Country-style Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I call this country-style, because the potatoes are rustically mashed with the skins on and flavoured with garlic and tangy sour cream.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 18 to 20 minutes

Makes: two servings

1 lb. unpeeled yellow-fleshed potatoes, quartered (see Note)

3 large garlic cloves, thickly sliced

1 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp sour cream

1 to 2 Tbsp milk

• salt and ground white pepper, to taste

1 small green onion, halved lengthwise, and then thinly sliced widthwise (optional)

Place potatoes and garlic in a pot, cover with two-inches of cold water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and gently simmer potatoes until very tender, about 18 to 20 minutes.

Drain potatoes well, ensuring the garlic stays in the pot, and then thoroughly mash. Beat in the butter, sour cream and milk. Now mix in the salt, pepper and green onion, if using, and serve.

Note: Three medium, or two large, yellow-fleshed potatoes should yield the amount needed here.

Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.