As many of you might know, my brother lives in Hoboken, NJ. He’s been home since Thanksgiving, either working from his room, eating all the ice cream in the house, or celebrating his friend getting married. Well, whenever he comes home for the weekend (and actually sticks around for dinner), my mom likes to make meatloaf. Growing up it was a staple in our house, and even though I was never a fan, my brother likes tradition. Since he’s sometimes a bit resistant to change, I was a little hesitant to serve this bacon and apple meatloaf to him….I mean, if he didn’t like it, he was going to drive back to Hoboken with one less home cooked meal under his belt. Anyway, I thought I’d just go for it and play with flavors no one could resist – bacon and apples.
The salty bacon plays off the sweet apples really nicely. Like I’ve said a few times on here, salty and sweet is the way to go. To play up that combo, I mix maple syrup covered apples and salty sun dried tomatoes into the actual meatloaf. Those apples keep the entire loaf so incredibly juicy. You’d be hard pressed to dry this loaf out, that’s for sure. Even the dried tomatoes plump from all those juices, and the tomato flavor ties it slightly back to a traditional meatloaf. It’s nice to have familiar flavors in any “twisted” dish…it makes new flavor combinations less scary to try.
And less scary it was! My entire family chowed down on thick slices of the meatloaf. My dad kind of implied I should ban my mom from ever making meatloaf again…I think his exact words were “This is amazing. And YOURS didn’t give me indigestion” (sorry mom!). My brother even asked me if I followed a real chef’s recipe. Um…not so much, Christopher. This recipe is all mine. ;)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
3 garlic cloves (minced)
1 cup apples (diced small)
3/4 cup onion (diced small)
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes (diced smalle)
1 strip of bacon (diced small)
1.5 lbs lean ground beef
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 apple (peeled and sliced)
2 strips of bacon
1 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and butter. Add the garlic, diced apples, onion, sundried tomatoes, and strip of bacon with a pinch of salt/pepper. Sautee until cooked and tender (about 5-7 minutes). They will have a slightly brown and caramelized color. Turn off heat and cool.
In a large bowl, add the ground beef, sauteed fruit/veggies, bread crumbs, egg, maple syrup, and soy sauce with a large pinch of salt/pepper. Using your hands, mix until everything is thoroughly combined (do not over mix). Pat into a loaf and put onto a greased baking sheet.
On top of the loaf, layer with the remaining bacon and apple slices (I alternated – line of bacon, line of apple, bacon, apple, etc). Sprinkle with brown sugar and a pinch of salt/pepper.
Bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees.
Cool slightly before slicing. Enjoy!