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World's Best Meatloaf with Tomato Relish

This is from the cookbook Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen. It's his dad's meatloaf recipe and after you make this you will know where Tyler got his skills. If you want to bump this meatloaf out of this world, try grass-fed ground beef or chuck.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Servings: 8
Author: Good Dinner Mom

Ingredients

  • Tomato Relish
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 red bell peppers cored, seeded, and finely diced
  • 2 to matoes halved, seeded, and finely diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 12-ounce bottle ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Meatloaf
  • 2 1/2 pounds good quality ground beef
  • 3 eggs
  • Leaves from 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 to 1 cup bread crumbs 2 or 3 slices stale bread, crusts removed, pulsed in the food processor
  • 3 bacon slices

Instructions

  • One quick tip: Cut and chop all the vegetables and herbs for the sauce before you even begin so you can add everything quickly.
  • Coat a skillet with a 2-count of oil and place over medium heat. Saute the onion, garlic, and bay leaves for a few minutes to create a base flavor. Throw in the red peppers and cook them for a couple of minutes to soften. Now, add the tomatoes; adding them at this point lets them hold their shape and prevents them from disintegrating. Stir in the parsley, ketchup, and Worcestershire; season with salt and pepper. Simmer the relish for 5 minutes to pull all the flavors together. Remove it from the heat; you should have about 4 cups of relish.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F. This is where you get your hands dirty! In a large mixing bowl, with your hands, loosely combine the ground beef with 1 1/2 cups of the tomato relish, the eggs, and thyme; season with salt and pepper. tender meatloaf (and meatballs, but that's another recipe). You want all the ingredients mixed well but use a gentle hand. That is one secret to Add the bread crumbs in stages, starting with 3/4 cup; you may not need all of them. I just keep adding until the mixture is still pretty moist. Most times I only the 3/4 cup of bread crumbs.
  • Turn out your meat mixture onto a baking sheet or roasting pan. Mold loosely into a loaf shape. Cover with another 1/2 cup of the tomato relish. Lay the bacon across the top lengthwise.
  • Bake the meatloaf for approximately 45-50 minutes. If you're using the baking sheet method, you don't need to cook longer than this. Don't overcook your meatloaf so it doesn't dry out. (If cooking in a loaf pan, you will need to cook for 55 to 60 minutes.)
  • During the last 5 minutes of cooking, I usually turn the oven onto low-broil and watch carefully just to crisp the bacon a bit more. Remove meatloaf from the oven and let it rest 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with the remaining tomato relish on the side. This is unbelievably moist.
  • Cook's Note: Turkey may be substituted in place of the ground beef, just lessen cooking time to around 40 minutes and only add about 1/2 cup bread crumbs.