The Heart-Shaped Meatloaf

Feb 14

Don’t you just hate it when you think you’re being original, and then go online and find about a million references (no exaggeration) to your brilliant idea?

HeartShapedMeatloadThat’s the story of “my” heart-shaped meatloaf, which I’ve made for years every Valentine’s Day.  Beats going to dinner on a night when restaurants are booked and prices are high. Meatloaf is cheap. Tasty. Comforting.

And if they’re heart-shaped, romantic in a weird sort of a way.

But apparently, not original, Not even a little. Just Google “Heart-Shaped Meatloaf” if you don’t believe me.

There’s even something on You Tube to the tune of “I Would Do Anything For Love” by, who else, Meatloaf.

Actually, it wasn’t ever my idea. I got it from a vintage Alka Seltzer commercial in which a new bride tries to impress her husband with fancy dishes he can’t resist. Or digest. Hence, the Alka Seltzer.

HearMeatloafPanBut meatloaf isn’t fancy, it’s just the shape of this one that is. You can actually buy a heart-shaped pan to do it. Really.  I just use a round pan, and shape it by eye, with varying degrees of success. Hey, my heart’s in the right place, even though the loaf sometimes looks rather . . . free-form. Kinda like an actual heart.

Anyway. You can use any old recipe to make a heart-shaped meatloaf. But why would you, when I’m giving you mine:

This is the one that prompted a famous director who shall remain nameless to horde the sandwiches I made for him and the crew and to ask for the recipe; the meatloaf devoured at many an Oscar party; the one I think I made up using a recipe from a Corning Ware pan but who knows; the one I lost the recipe for and had to call a friend in California to get it back  because that woman never forgets anything; the one many have tried to imitate, but none have succeeded.

So here, in honor of Valentine’s Day — and the blog’s anniversary — a first: a recipe!
And my finest one, at that. Just follow these simple directions . . .

The Ultimate Meatloaf

What you need:
1 pound chopped chuck
1 slice white bread
2 slices rye bread
1 small onion, chopped finely (about 1/2 cup)
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

What you do:
Preheat the oven to 350.
Soak the bread in one cup water in a big bowl.
Meanwhile, chop the onion and the parsley; grate the cheese (or use fresh grated cheese).
Add the meat to moistened bread, and then add the egg, the Worcestershire, s & p, onion, parsley and cheese.
Mix with your hands (or a fork if you’re squeamish).
Shape into a loaf, top with slivers of butter and a little oregano.

Bake for about one hour, a little more if you double the recipe, which I usually do. Add tomato sauce or (gasp!) ketchup if you want.

Secrets of success:

Don’t use too much onion: a small one is enough.                     
Chop the onion very finely.
About the meat: don’t get anything fancy/fat-free (chopped chuck is good)
Use a heart-shaped meat loaf pan if you must, but it’s better if there’s air around the loaf so it browns nicely all around.

550HeartPizzaIf you don’t have time to make a meatloaf, maybe you could get your favorite Italian restaurant to deliver a heart-shaped pizza. With a side of Alka Seltzer.


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