Correction: An earlier version of this story omitted milk, eggs and parsley from the ingredients and instructions.
An earlier version of this story omitted the Welcome to January and the new year. Over the last few weeks I’ve eaten my weight in desserts, seafood, pastries and fancy hors d’oeuvres; now I crave simple, homey foods, especially soups and stews. Oh, and meatloaf. I love meatloaf. We love meatloaf – and meatballs, we are suckers for meatballs. And even though I vary the ingredients and the method of the two recipes from time to time, they never, ever disappoint.
For meatloaf, however, the issue is that there are just two of us. Sure, a meatloaf sandwich the next day served on rye with a pickle is my idea of manna from heaven, but after that I want to move on. With meatballs I can freeze and use them on pasta or tucked into a crusty roll with lots of mozzarella oozing on top.
But then I grabbed my favorite cookbook, Deb Perelman’s “The Smitten Kitchen,” and she introduced me to the realization that meatloaf is really one giant meatball. Well, there you have it. Perelman’s recipe for Tomato-Glazed Meatloaves is the perfect answer for what I crave: she Starts with a mirepoix (carrots, onion, celery) then adds smoked paprika, Dijon and Worcestershire along with homemade breadcrumbs and fresh ground beef. My only variation was to use a pound of ground pork as part of the meat. Topped with a lovely tomato glaze, these meatballs, er, meatloaves, were ideal for this hungry couple.
And the best part? The recipe makes 12 four-ounce meatballs, and you can vary the weight and amount to suit your needs. Even better? Next day leftovers included a meatball sandwich with mozzarella on top. The rest went into the freezer – but I guarantee you, you, they won’t be there long.
Adapted from "The Smitten Kitchen."
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan, whisking well.
Simmer, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes.
2 slices sandwich bread, torn up
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1 medium stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, and more to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Tear the bread into chunks and then pulse it in a food processor into breadcrumbs.Transfer breadcrumbs to a large bowl. Pulse the onion, garlic, celery, and carrot in the processor and until finely chopped.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Add the vegetable mixture, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until the vegetables begin to brown. Mix the vegetables into the breadcrumbs. Add the meat, tomato paste, paprika, mustard, Worcestershire and rest of ingredients. Stir with a fork or mix by hand until thoroughly blended.
With wet hands, form the mixture into meatballs (12 at 3 inches each ).
In the 9×13 baking dish, space meatballs so that they are not touching. Brush each one with a teaspoon or so of the tomato glaze.
Bake for 20 minutes or until they are cooked through (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should register 160 to 165 degrees).
Serve with additional glaze on a bed of mashed potatoes. Makes 12 meatloaves.