UNTIL NOW. I have decided that it's time for me to woman up. Meatloaf is cheap, easy, and requires minimum fuss for maximum tastiness. Avoiding it is very silly.
This one has a melting cheese centre and a bacon crust, making it vaguely cheeseburgerish in flavour, which has perhaps tricked my brain. Yes, dear reader - I'm happy to announce that I managed to eat this meatloaf without crying about poor wee bunnies. And most delicious it was, too. I feel rather triumphant. I am a better, braver, more meatloafy person now. I have overcome my demons. Almost...
I expect you're agog to know whether I watched Watership Down while I ate this (obviously I didn't make it all the way through the film when I was little). Um, no.
I won't do that.
Easy Cheesy Meatloaf (serves 6-8)
You will need:
- 1kg minced beef
- 100g breadcrumbs (I used panko)
- 4 spring onions, snipped
- 2 tsp mustard powder
- 3 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 2 large eggs
- Salt and pepper
- A generous splash of Worcestershire Sauce
- A smaller splash of Tabasco
- 100g grated mature cheddar
- 12 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.
- Mix the mince, breadcrumbs, spring onions, mustard powder, tomato ketchup, eggs, salt, pepper, Worcestershire Sauce and Tabasco (in other words, the first nine ingredients) in a large bowl until everything is combined. Use your hands!
- Put about half the mixture into a 2lb loaf tin, patting it down firmly, and gently press a channel down the centre. Use some of the remaining mince to build 'walls' around the edges, like in this photo. Fill the cavity with your grated cheese, then top it all off with the rest of the meat. Give it a good push about to fill up the corners and smooth the top.
- Top with a piece of greased parchment or foil, and place in the centre of the oven for about an hour. After that time, remove the parchment or foil, and layer the bacon widthways across the top (yes, mine is lengthways. But it shrunk, by about 2 inches at one end. So use 12 bits of bacon and go the other way, tucking the ends under at each side). Bake for a further 10-15 minutes, until the bacon is cooked to your liking.
- Leave the meatloaf to cool a little - about 5 minutes - to allow the cheese to firm up a bit, but not too much! We want it gooey, but not explosive.
- Eat while watching Watership Down. Or not. Definitely not.
Terrifying. It should be rated 18, not U.