A meatloaf that both looks amazing and tastes as good as it looks? You gotta make my pancetta-wrapped blue cheese meatloaf! Your family is sure to ask for this recipe again and again.
Photographing meatloaf and making it look good has got to be one of the most thankless tasks in food photography. It’s just not the most photogenic of foods, no matter how good the photographer is. When I was working as an art editor in book publishing, I remember organising the shoot lists for a couple of cookbooks and meatloaf just so happened to be on both of them. I managed to convince the editor the swap the meatloaf recipe for something more appealing.
When it came to making meatloaf for the blog, I thought I had cracked both the recipe and how to make it look appetising. I was pretty chuffed with myself, let me tell you. But every time I tried to make the recipe things – or dogs – got in my way to prevent me from photographing or even cooking the poor meatloaf.
On one very memorable occasion, I had taken the step-by-step photos of lining the tin with pancetta and then remembered I had to pick up the kids from school. I left in a real hurry and when I came back the pancetta had magically disappeared and a very guilty-looking Brutus was hiding from me.
But this time I made it. I managed to both cook and photograph the meatloaf which uses a variation of my favourite blue cheese burger recipe. Lining the tin with pancetta gives the meatloaf both good looks and amazing flavour. I mean you can’t go far wrong wrapping ANYTHING in pancetta, am I right? Take a look at the video below!
Make sure your slices are overlapping and there are no gaps. Patch any gaps with extra pancetta and then cover the whole meatloaf with the overhanging slices. The meatloaf will shrink and release quite a lot of moisture while cooking – this is normal. Discard all the liquid then invert the meatloaf on your baking tray so that the underside is cooked and crispy.
Serve with mashed potatoes and some green vegetables with a bit of ketchup or gravy (those gravy stockpots are quite good in a pinch) and you have a family pleasing meal that everyone will request again and again. Just don’t leave your meatloaf near your pets!
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- For the meatloaf
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 500g | 17.6oz beef mince
- 100g | 3½ oz blue cheese, crumbled
- 55g | 2 oz fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- couple of dashes Tabasco
- 25-30 slices pancetta
- 2-3 tbsp maple syrup
- Heat the oven to 180C (350F).
- Line a small loaf tin (mine was 22cm x 8cm /9x4in) with the pancetta slices, making sure the slices overlap and the edges hang over the side of the tin. Make sure to patch any gaps.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onion over medium-low heat for 4-7 minutes until softened. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Put the onion and all the remaining ingredients apart from the maple syrup in a large bowl and thoroughly mix together with your hands.
- Pack the mince tightly into the tin, pressing it down with the back of a spoon.
- Fold the overhanging slices of pancetta over the top to seal completely.
- Place the meatloaf on a tray and cook for 45 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and drain any liquid that has gathered in the tin.
- Line your tray with baking paper. Carefully turn the meatloaf onto the tray and cook for a further 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and brush with the maple syrup. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Leave to cool slightly then slice and serve with mashed potato, green beans and some ketchup or gravy.
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