By 300 Sandwiches
After I’d stashed away that shoe polish-looking, salty tasting Vegemite away far back in my cupboard, E and I invited over his cousin, Jane and her boyfriend, Ken, for dinner. I was in the mood to cook meatloaf. I had never made one before but I have wanted to make meatloaf sandwiches for months. I believe one really cooks meatloaf for dinner—they do it for the leftover sandwiches.
My mother made meatloaf on occasion, but it was not a Sunday night staple; she cooked roast beef or spinach pie with sausage more often. Meatloaf to me has this connotation of lazy gourmet. First the word ‘loaf’ is in the name, as in loafing around. Plus it doesn’t look elegant, like roast chicken or rack of lamb. It’s a log of ground beef, with ketchup slathered on top. It’s like the clog shoe in a woman’s closet—comfortable, but ugly.
I made a large meatloaf, packed with peppers and onions and a generous amount of ketchup on top, so we’d definitely have enough for sandwiches the next day. In terms of preparation, this was my kind of meal: I assembled the loaf in 20 minutes using one skillet and one bowl, popped it in the oven, read the paper and had a glass of wine, and had dinner ready when out guests arrived an hour later. “Damn, girl!” E said, impressed. Since Jane is a vegetarian, E whipped up a separate bowl of linguini with tomatoes and capers, sautéed in garlic and butter. I carved hearty slices of meatloaf for the rest of us.
Everyone looked excited about the beef. Including the vegetarian. “Tonight I will eat meat, Stef. You can cut me a piece,” Jane declared. I was honored. By the end of the night, somehow we only had three slices of that meatloaf leftover (I almost had to stab people in the hand with a steak knife to make them leave enough meat for sandwiches. But that would have been rude. Sort of).
This morning, I assembled meatloaf sandwiches on brioche buns, which we brought to work with us. Since E was a fan, perhaps meatloaf could become a more regular menu item. I could be down to prepare it more often—any meal that allows time for a glass of wine and sitting on the couch is a good one to me. But I’ll be dammed if you ever catch me in a pair of clogs.
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup ketchup
1 pound ground sirloin
1 pound ground chuck
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
handful chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium low heat, then toss in garlic. After a minute, combine carrots, celery, onion, peppers into the skillet and simmer for about 5 minutes until vegetables melt. Then, toss in pepper, Worcestershire sauce, then add 1/3 cup ketchup. Let simmer for about 2 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool.
Next, combine the cooked vegetables and the meat into a large bowl. Then add bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and eggs and combine with spatula or your bare hands. When well blended, pack into a loaf pan, or form into loaf and place in roasting pan (this recipe is really too large for the average loaf pan, so I recommend forming it into a loaf and baking in a roasting pan). Top with another 1/4 cup or so of ketchup and sprinkle on a handful of chopped parsley, and bake for an hour.
Remove when internal temperature hits 155 degrees or when juices run clear (I cooked mine for an hour at 350, then let warm at 300 for another 10 minutes). Remove from loaf pan or roasting pan with spatula and place on a serving dish or cutting board, and slice into slices.
To make sandwiches, toast brioche buns, then layer on greens and a slice or two of meatloaf. This recipe will yield at least 6 sandwiches, assuming you bypassed Sunday dinner and saved the entire loaf for the next day sandwiches.