Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

With all the meatloaf recipes floating around out there, how do you choose just one to make? Most cooks probably have a stained and greasy index card from their mother or grandmother. If not, there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of recipes online, in addition to the ones stored in cookbooks. I was browsing through my huge folder of to-be-filed recipe clippings and found a page from an old Eating Well magazine — Meatloaf Tonight! A comfort-food classic updated.

I picked this one because the ingredients include:

  • Both lean ground beef and turkey — Less beef fat makes it a bit healthier.
  • Whole-wheat breadcrumbs instead of white — I prefer to use wheat in any recipe.
  • And a bottle of dark or amber beer — I love cooking with beer. ‘Nuff said. Seriously, like wine, beer can add depth and richness to a dish, plus there are a variety of styles, each with its own flavor profile.

The meatloaf was moist and tasty. The beer-infused onions definitely added a punch of flavor. I will make this again, unless I find another intriguing recipe to try — my usual modus operandi. For once I didn’t veer from the original recipe at all. My only regret is that I was out of town for a week so didn’t get to have any leftover meatloaf sandwiches.


  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped (2 cups)
  • 1 12-oz bottle of dark or amber beer
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1-1/4# lean ground beef
  • 1-1/4# lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs (about 2 slices)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375. Coat an 8-1/2” x 4-1/2” loaf pan with cooking spray. Trim crusts from bread, tear into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form.

Saute onion in oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until translucent and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Pour in beer and increase heat to high. Bring to boil and cook until the liquid is quite syrupy and reduces to about ¾ cup, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in thyme, mustard, salt and pepper. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Add beef, turkey, breadcrumbs, parsley, beaten egg and white to the onion mixture. Mix thoroughly with your hands (so mooshy, love this part!) and transfer to the prepared pan.

Bake until it reaches 160 on an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the loaf, about 80 minutes (mine took 80 minutes exactly). Let it rest for 5 minutes. Drain any accumulated liquid from the pan – your dog will love you if you pour it over his dry food. Slice and serve!

Original recipe: Blue Ribbon Meatloaf, Eating Well, February/March 2005

One thought on “Meatloaf Special: New & Improved!

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