Traditional Meatloaf (w/ wine pairings)


Recently a couple of readers reached out to ask for some more easy “comfort food” recipes, and it doesn’t get much easier, or more comforting, than meatloaf! Now one issue I always have with most online meatloaf recipes is that they’re too darn small. Who needs a 1 1/2-2lb meatloaf?!? So here’s a real meatloaf, one that’ll feed the whole family. Oh yeah, and some wine pairings… because who doesn’t love wine? Enjoy!

Serves 6-8

Ingredients (Meat Mixture)
3lb 80/20 Ground Beef (don’t go leaner, you need fat to keep it moist)
1 1/4c Plain Panko
2 Large Eggs
1tsp Salt
1tsp Ground Black Pepper
1tsp Garlic Powder
3tbsp Grated Parmesan

Ingredients (Saute – to be added to meat mixture)
1 Large Carrot, chopped
1 Celery Stalk, chopped
1 Red Onion, chopped
4 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
2tbsp Olive Oil
1/2tsp Salt
1/2tsp Ground Black Pepper
1/2c Chicken Stock (I use Low Sodium)

Ingredients (Glaze)
1/2c Ketchup
1tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1tbsp Light Brown Sugar
1/2tsp Ground Black Pepper

Preheat your oven to 350F.

In a large bowl combine all of the “Meat Mixture” ingredients by hand, do not overwork or it will become gummy and dense. Set aside at room temperature.

From the “Saute” ingredients, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan at Medium. Add the chopped vegetables, salt and black pepper. Simmer, stirring periodically, until the vegetables become translucent, about five minutes. Add the chicken stock, simmer an additional two minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool at room temperature. Once cool enough to touch by hand, add to the meat mixture and mix together by hand, once again don’t overwork it. Place the mixture in the fridge to cool, about 30 minutes.

Lightly grease a 9.5×13″ baking dish. Remove the meat mixture from the fridge, gently form into a loaf shape and place in the dish. Bake for 30 minutes.

While the meatloaf is in the oven combine the “Glaze” ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

After 30 minutes remove the meatloaf from the oven and evenly spread the glaze over the exterior. Place back in the oven for an additional 45 minutes at 350F. Remove from the oven and rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving. That’s it, you’re done. Serve it with your favorite side(s) and have a great family dinner! This last time we did garlic risotto and roasted carrots, it was delicious.

Ok, so let’s talk wine pairings. Now some might argue that Meatloaf originated from Eastern Europe, but in my not-so-humble opinion it’s about as American as Apple Pie! So let’s stick with some wines from the good ‘ole U S of A. Obviously we’re sticking with reds here, and we’re going to stay more towards the “full bodied” end of the spectrum. Here’s what I’m thinking…

Foxglove Zinfandel, Paso Robles, California – Foxglove is the second label of the famed Varner twins, who made their name as pioneers in the now infamous, and incredibly expensive, Santa Cruz Mountains. They created Foxglove to have a lineup of wines at a more affordable, everyday price point, as compared to their signature Varner wines that retailed at $40 and beyond. The 2014 Paso Robles Zinfandel sees minimal oak and is fruit forward, without being too ripe. Nuances of raspberry, tart cherry, dried herbs and spice play on the palate. A refreshing departure from overblown, high alcohol California Zins! PP Score: 90 (Retail $12-15)

Sean Minor Red Blend Cuvee Nicole Marie, North Coast, California – One of our favorite domestic producers here at Perfect Pairings at Home, Sean Minor never fails to over deliver for the price point. Their Nicole Marie red blend is interesting in the fact that it is Merlot-based, along with some Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot and Zinfandel, whereas most “California blends” are either predominantly Cabernet or Zinfandel. The wine is deep ruby in color and displays aromas of ripe blueberry, dark cherry, cassis and vanilla. On the entry, flavors of blueberries and dark cherry combine with hints of oak spices which coat the palate. The soft tannins and sweet oak lead to a long and lingering finish. Exceptional for the price. PP Score: 92 (Retail $18-22)

Hardin Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, California – Hardin is the brainchild of Douglas Polaner, visionary and owner of Polaner Selections, one of the top fine wine importers/distributors in the United States. His vision was to create a Napa Cabernet that drank like a $50 bottle, but cost around $30… and he succeeded! The first ever vintage of Hardin was 2003, with 170 cases made. Fast forward to 2015 and Doug has pushed the needle closer to 3,000, and while you would think that the quality would dilute with the increased production, the exact opposite has happened… the wine has gotten better and better every single year! The 2015 displays aromas of black cherry, cassis, dried herbs, rose petal and faint oak. Beautifully structured, with a moderately soft opening leading into an explosive mid-palate with notes of cassis, black fig, tobacco, black tea and ground peppercorn, framed by subtle acidity and an assertive tannic backbone, with a long, lingering, and slightly warm finish. Easily one of the best Napa Cabernets on the market at this price point! PP Score: 94 (Retail $25-32)

So there you have it. My comforting and family-sized friendly meatloaf, and some kickass, yet moderately affordable, domestic wines to go with it. I hope you’ve enjoyed the read, and I certainly hope you’ll try the recipe and possibly some of the wines! More content is on the way. In the meantime, pour yourself a glass of California red, sit back, and relax… Life is short, you deserve to enjoy it!!


Published by Derek Martin

Husband, dad, home cook, wine snob... lover of bacon. I have spent my entire adult life surrounded by fine food and fine wines, starting with fifteen years working at, or running, some of New Jersey's top restaurants, and now the last two years working for one of the top fine wine distributors in the United States. I have absorbed a ton of information on food, wine, pairings and techniques during those seventeen years, and I'd love to share what I've learned with you!

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