A Meatloaf Even a Father-in-Law Could Love

You know that curmudgeon of a Scottish father-in-law I told you about?  The one who can’t eat a single meal without a potato in it, and gives me a death stare anytime I dare serve him a plate of pasta? He’s hard to cook for. As in, I kind of go into a state of panic whenever it’s my turn to crank out a family supper, and when I’m in panic-mode, it doesn’t bode well for anyone. Case in point being when I used my in-laws’ touchy stove-top to fry some chicken breasts and set off the smoke alarm, which is of course rigged to notify the friggin’ fire department immediately, which made several handsome men in uniform come barreling through the door a whole four minutes later to make sure we weren’t burning to death (good on ya, Vancouver Fire Department!), scaring the daylights out of me and my chicken.

It was embarrassing. Even worse than that time during the holidays when I fell down the stairs in the middle of the night and woke up the whole house. (Socks + carpeted stairs + rum and eggnogs = a recipe for a bruised tailbone.)

But back to the dinner conundrum: after a whopping 11 years spent in the Anderson Clan fold, I’ve realized the best route to go for family dinners is a good ol’ meat and potatoes meal. Preferably with a gravy of some sort… or a cheese sauce to drown whatever helpless vegetable we’re having in. So I figured I better scour my recipes and cookbooks for a real crowd-pleaser…. And what I found was the meatloaf to trump all meatloafs.

For those of you that don’t know who Tyler Florence is, he’s another Food Network Star turned cookbook author who knows how to do comfort food right, with quality ingredients that take some of the guilt away. Anytime I need a “wow” dish that won’t break the bank or break my patience, Tyler’s recipes are the first place I look. I’ve made a few variations on his recipe, just to please my own weird little palate, but the relish really takes this meatloaf to a new level. It’s so moist and delish, you’ll be whipping it up and wolfing it down with your family for many Sundays to come. Also, try the same relish with roasted chicken or pork tenderloin on another night, or even grilled salmon.. unless my father-in-law’s around, in which case, no salmon. Ever.



For the Relish:

2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

half a bottle of good quality ketchup (preferably something organic, since we’re using a lot)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

a few sprigs of thyme

2 bay leaves


For the Meatloaf:

1 lb extra lean ground beef

1 lb ground pork

3 slices whole grain bread

1/4 cup milk

about 1 tbsp chopped thyme leaves

2 eggs

half a package of good quality bacon,

salt and pepper



Start your relish: heat the extra virgin olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook the red peppers, onions, and garlic for a few minutes until the veggies start to soften. Add the tomatoes and cook another few minutes. Add the vinegar, letting it burn off for a minute or two. Add the worcestershire sauce, honey, ketchup, thyme sprigs, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Bring it all up to a bubble, then turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 2o minutes.

Preheat the oven to 35oF.

Get a baking/cookie sheet ready. Spread some foil over the top (easy clean-up, you’ll thank me later) and grease it lightly with a little olive oil.

Cut the crusts off the bread. Break up the slices into mid-size cubes or crumbs, and soak them in the milk. Drain them and squeeze out the excess liquid, then place them in a large mixing bowl. This seems weird, I know, but it keeps your meatloaf nice and moist. Mix your breadcrumbs up with all the meat, the eggs, the thyme, salt and pepper, and about a cup’s worth of relish. Once it’s all combined, dump the whole kit n’ kaboodle on the foil lined baking sheet. Form the meat mixture into a meatloaf-style log. Spoon a few spoonfuls of the relish over the top and spread it out evenly. Cut your bacon in half once vertically so the strips fit over the top of the meatloaf. Lay the strips of bacon from one end of the meatloaf to the other.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours until the bacon’s nice and crispy. Let it rest for ten minutes before slicing it so the juices redistribute. Serve with extra relish at the table… and mashed potatoes, of course.




18 Comments Add yours

  1. This reads like comfort food porn. Well, I imagine it does & you were into that sort of thing. 😛 I’m totally going to do this. I would never have thought to use honey or create a relish for that matter. It’s usually just some sort of boring tomato sauce on top. Thanks for this, Jewel!

  2. PVBuk says:

    Sounds awesome! No pic though? 🙂

  3. He sounds like a rather limited man to cook for. The recipe sounds great though.

  4. John Anderson says:

    I like the “SERVES 8 ANDERSONS”. Years ago I was the eighth (and last) Anderson in our house and meatloaf was on the Sunday after-church dinner rotation. It was not the meatloaf you offer here.

  5. Melissa says:

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! I found it a little unusual that it’s cooked on a baking sheet instead of in a loaf pan, but I’m sure there’s a reason for that.

  6. eden says:

    I adore Tyler Florence… thanks to one of his shows I can make a decent omellette. This recipe looks fabulous. In our household meatloaf is exotic; my husband’s from Central America.

  7. Old_Warhorse says:

    My first reaction to the mention of meatloaf is “eeeuugh!” Yeah, too many mystery meatloaf night’s in the Army’s chow halls will do that to a person! However, this meatloaf actually sounds really good and I’ll be giving it a try some time soon!

    Kinda wish I had someone to make it for me this weekend (had to send my cat, Rocky Blue eyes, across the Rainbow Bridge today), but I’ll settle for baked potatoes with lots of sour cream, bacon, cheddar cheese and onions instead, since all I have to do is scrub the ‘taters & nuke ’em.

  8. Kitten says:

    My late husband may roll in his grave if I don’t make his recipe, but this one sounds goooooood. My fiance is an Anderson – could you please get your FIL to do something about their tartan? (Please don’t tell him I said that.)

  9. sushigrade says:

    I’ve also had excellent results with Alton Brown’s meatloaf recipe, and if you like bacon… well, there’s a farm near us who sell all kinds of really amazing pasture-raised meats, including bacon burgers. As in, they make ground beef, and on the second grind, they add bacon ends.

    Best. Meatloaf. Ever.

  10. Tiffany says:

    My husband and his family are Andersons of the Swedish variety, meaning their meatloaf is served in small rounded balls with some weird looking gooey gravy. They don’t sound good in theory, but om nom nom are they tasty. That said, this meatloaf recipe sounds pretty solid. Thanks for a new meal experiment! 🙂

  11. GRyall says:

    Help a brit out – how many cups to the pint or liter?

  12. Melissa says:

    Made this last night and it was a huge hit! Only thing I changed was reducing it to one bell pepper from two (just looked like too much to me) and cutting the bacon horizontally. The relish was a perfect accent. SO delicious.

    Only issue I had was that I baked it on a baking stone with no lip around the edges and had a huge mess to clean up. When she recommends foil, she really means it.

    Definitely worth a try though!

  13. Tom says:

    I’m going to have to try this one out. Sounds very good!

  14. Lawrence says:

    Gonna try this out. I’ve tried to make MeatLoaf 3 times now and I’ve yet to make one that actually tastes like meatloaf. Mostly they taste like a big hamburger loaf and bland at that. I’ll have to comment again when I get this made lol.

    1. Lawrence says:

      Ok so I did try the recipe and everything went so well until about 1 hr and 15 minutes in I realized i forgot the most important part of the relish which was the half bottle of ketchup lol. Overall the Meatloaf still tasted pretty good, but i’m disappointed i screwed up Meatloaf again lol.

  15. Kari says:

    I have an old clay pot (my mother-in-law gave it to me, it was a wedding present given to her over 35 years ago) that I LOVE to use, and have been trying to find a good meatloaf recipe to make in it. My husband is a lot like your father-in-law, although, honestly . . . he could skip the potatoes, too. 😉 I am hoping this recipe works in the pot I have! I figure if I cover it in bacon, David won’t care about anything else. Thanks for what sounds like an awesome recipe! I’ll post a picture if I don’t royally screw it up. Everything I’ve made so far looks so pretty in the clay pot! 🙂

  16. Kari says:

    Made this tonight, and it will be the meatloaf recipe I make every time, now. Amazing. Thank you! I’ve been looking for awhile now for a good one! 🙂

  17. Michael says:

    So I made this tonight for my wife, it was excellent, thanks for the recipe!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.