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Ed’s Mother’s Meatloaf

by . Featured in KITCHEN
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Introduction

It wasn’t until my first visit to the States, in my early 20s, that I first ate meatloaf. It took me many years to get over it. But a couple of decades or so later, I ate this meatloaf, cooked for me by agent and friend, the late, great Ed Victor according to his mother’s recipe, and it was love. I knew I had to have the recipe. And although I did get my hands on it and, indeed, it appeared in my 2010 book, Kitchen, it is only now that it has found its way to nigella.com.

I should say that I don’t wish to denigrate all other meatloaves. Had I eaten one first in someone’s kitchen at home, as I did this one, I’m sure I’d have been more enthusiastic from the off. But this one is just luscious, in part due to the generous amount of onions that are first cooked in duck fat (though you can use butter), which stop the minced/ground meat becoming dry and compacted in the oven. You may be tempted to reduce the fat, but I would advise against it. If you can, buy your meat from a butcher and preferably get it minced in front of you, as prepackaged mince inevitably tends to the dry and crumbly, though it’s not a deal-breaker!

It is a bit of a process to make, I don’t deny, but it is so worth it. Make it on a day when you’re not racing against the clock, and you can potter about in the kitchen, actually enjoying every step. It’s not as if it’s difficult to make, but it is time-consuming. And while this makes a large meatloaf which can happily feed 8-10, I make it even when there are just the three of us at home to eat it, as leftover meatloaf - cold, not reheated - makes for some of the best sandwiches in the world.

In an ideal world, it should come with mash for its first time out, and you may well consider gravy essential. I don’t, and am perfectly content just to have the juices that drip from the meatloaf as it cooks; use a high-sided baking tin and you will end up with more of these gorgeous pan drippings. These may be too fatty for some tastes, so feel free to remove some of the fat from the pan, and then heat what remains with a splosh of red vermouth and some beef stock. If you want a thicker gravy, just stir a little flour into the pan juices before adding any liquid.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

It wasn’t until my first visit to the States, in my early 20s, that I first ate meatloaf. It took me many years to get over it. But a couple of decades or so later, I ate this meatloaf, cooked for me by agent and friend, the late, great Ed Victor according to his mother’s recipe, and it was love. I knew I had to have the recipe. And although I did get my hands on it and, indeed, it appeared in my 2010 book, Kitchen, it is only now that it has found its way to nigella.com.

I should say that I don’t wish to denigrate all other meatloaves. Had I eaten one first in someone’s kitchen at home, as I did this one, I’m sure I’d have been more enthusiastic from the off. But this one is just luscious, in part due to the generous amount of onions that are first cooked in duck fat (though you can use butter), which stop the minced/ground meat becoming dry and compacted in the oven. You may be tempted to reduce the fat, but I would advise against it. If you can, buy your meat from a butcher and preferably get it minced in front of you, as prepackaged mince inevitably tends to the dry and crumbly, though it’s not a deal-breaker!

It is a bit of a process to make, I don’t deny, but it is so worth it. Make it on a day when you’re not racing against the clock, and you can potter about in the kitchen, actually enjoying every step. It’s not as if it’s difficult to make, but it is time-consuming. And while this makes a large meatloaf which can happily feed 8-10, I make it even when there are just the three of us at home to eat it, as leftover meatloaf - cold, not reheated - makes for some of the best sandwiches in the world.

In an ideal world, it should come with mash for its first time out, and you may well consider gravy essential. I don’t, and am perfectly content just to have the juices that drip from the meatloaf as it cooks; use a high-sided baking tin and you will end up with more of these gorgeous pan drippings. These may be too fatty for some tastes, so feel free to remove some of the fat from the pan, and then heat what remains with a splosh of red vermouth and some beef stock. If you want a thicker gravy, just stir a little flour into the pan juices before adding any liquid.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Ed's Mother's Meatloaf
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Serves: 8-10

Metric Cups
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 onions (500g / 1lb total)
  • 5 x 15ml tablespoons duck fat or butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes (or ½ teaspoon pouring salt)
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 900 grams minced beef (preferably organic)
  • 100 grams fresh breadcrumbs
  • 225 grams thin-cut rindless streaky bacon
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 onions (500g / 1lb total)
  • 5 tablespoons duck fat or butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon pouring salt)
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 pounds ground beef (preferably organic)
  • 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 10 ounces thin-cut rindless bacon

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200℃/180°C Fan/400°F. Bring a pan of water to a boil and then boil 3 of the eggs for 7 minutes. Refresh them in cold water.
  2. Peel and chop the onions, and heat the duck fat or butter in a thick-bottomed frying pan. Cook the onions gently, sprinkled with the salt, for about 20-25 minutes or until the onions are golden and catching in the fat. Remove to a bowl to cool.
  3. Put the Worcestershire sauce and beef mince into a bowl, and when the onion mixture is not hot to the touch, add it to the bowl and work everything together with your hands.
  4. Add the remaining raw egg and mix again before finally adding the breadcrumbs.
  5. Divide the mixture into 2, and in the tin make the bottom half of the meatloaf by patting half the mince mixture into a flattish ovoid shape approximately 23cm/9in long. Peel and place the 3 hard-boiled eggs in a row down the middle of the meatloaf.
  6. Shape the remaining mound over the top of the eggs and pat into a solid bloomer-loaf shape. Compress the meatloaf to get rid of any holes, but don't overwork it.
  7. Cover the meatloaf with rashers of bacon, as if it were a terrine, tucking the bacon ends underneath the meatloaf as best you can to avoid its curling up as it cooks.
  8. Bake for 1 hour, till the juices run clear, and once it's out of the oven let the meatloaf rest for 15 minutes. This should make it easier to slice. When slicing, do it generously, so everyone gets some egg. Pour the meat juices over as you serve, or do what you will, gravy-wise.
  1. Preheat the oven to 200℃/180°C Fan/400°F. Bring a pan of water to a boil and then boil 3 of the eggs for 7 minutes. Refresh them in cold water.
  2. Peel and chop the onions, and heat the duck fat or butter in a thick-bottomed frying pan. Cook the onions gently, sprinkled with the salt, for about 20-25 minutes or until the onions are golden and catching in the fat. Remove to a bowl to cool.
  3. Put the Worcestershire sauce and beef mince into a bowl, and when the onion mixture is not hot to the touch, add it to the bowl and work everything together with your hands.
  4. Add the remaining raw egg and mix again before finally adding the breadcrumbs.
  5. Divide the mixture into 2, and in the tin make the bottom half of the meatloaf by patting half the mince mixture into a flattish ovoid shape approximately 23cm/9in long. Peel and place the 3 hard-boiled eggs in a row down the middle of the meatloaf.
  6. Shape the remaining mound over the top of the eggs and pat into a solid bloomer-loaf shape. Compress the meatloaf to get rid of any holes, but don't overwork it.
  7. Cover the meatloaf with rashers of bacon, as if it were a terrine, tucking the bacon ends underneath the meatloaf as best you can to avoid its curling up as it cooks.
  8. Bake for 1 hour, till the juices run clear, and once it's out of the oven let the meatloaf rest for 15 minutes. This should make it easier to slice. When slicing, do it generously, so everyone gets some egg. Pour the meat juices over as you serve, or do what you will, gravy-wise.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD:
The meatloaf can be assembled, covered and kept in the fridge for 1 day. Then bake as in the recipe.

LEFTOVERS:
Without doubt a meatloaf sandwich is one of the most fabulous things anyone can eat ever, ever, ever. I don't want to be too bossy about this, but for me a meatloaf sandwich needs to be slathered with a mixture of wholegrain mustard and mayo, whatever bread you're using - and the bread I'm using is an Eastern-European-style dark rye, scented and studded with caraway seeds. Use up the leftovers within 2-3 days.

MAKE AHEAD:
The meatloaf can be assembled, covered and kept in the fridge for 1 day. Then bake as in the recipe.

LEFTOVERS:
Without doubt a meatloaf sandwich is one of the most fabulous things anyone can eat ever, ever, ever. I don't want to be too bossy about this, but for me a meatloaf sandwich needs to be slathered with a mixture of wholegrain mustard and mayo, whatever bread you're using - and the bread I'm using is an Eastern-European-style dark rye, scented and studded with caraway seeds. Use up the leftovers within 2-3 days.

Tell us what you think

What 3 Others have said

  • My Grandma made this recipe only she basted it with a homemade barbecue sauce as it cooked ……. Delicious. It’s one of my families favorites.

    Posted by AuntyNetty on 21st February 2022
  • Thank you so much for this recipe. It was my best meatloaf I’ve ever done. I will surely repeat this dish. I put on the top few peppercorn, coriander seeds. Thank you so much.

    Posted by Margau on 20th February 2022
  • Favorito de mi familia. Gracias Nigella!

    Posted by AnaES on 19th February 2022
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