The secrets to this meatloaf are fresh, very finely diced vegetables that give it moisture and flavor–and a light touch in mixing together the ingredients. This hearty meatloaf is the perfect meal for cool fall and winter evenings, served with mashed potatoes and simple mushroom gravy.
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 rib celery, coarsely chopped
½ onion, coarsely chopped
½ red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
4 white mushrooms, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 ½ pounds ground chuck
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
hot pepper sauce to taste
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Step 2: Place the carrot, celery, onion, red bell pepper, mushrooms, and garlic in a food processor, and pulse until very finely chopped, almost to a puree. Place the minced vegetables into a large mixing bowl, and mix in ground chuck, Worcestershire sauce, and egg. Add Italian herbs, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Mix gently with a wooden spoon to incorporate vegetables and egg into the meat. Pour in bread crumbs. With your hand, gently mix in the crumbs with your fingertips just until combined, about 1 minute.
Step 3: Form the meatloaf into a ball. Pour olive oil into a baking dish and place the ball of meat into the dish. Shape the ball into a loaf, about 4 inches high by 6 inches across.
Step 4: Bake in the preheated oven just until the meatloaf is hot, about 15 minutes.