zen meat loaf

Over the years I've made this on numerous occasions and did so again yesterday for the first time for quite a while. Some of the result has just been eaten for lunch.

You will need:

  • 2lb (1kg) Minced Beef
  • ½lb (250gm) Bacon or Ham scraps, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 1 pint (550ml) Breadcrumbs
  • 2 medium Onions, finely chopped
  • Lots of Garlic, roughly chopped
  • Large bunch fresh herbs (optional; use whatever is available and you like)
  • Cooked Spinach (optional)
  • 15-20 Olives, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Puree (optional)
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Puree (optional)
  • 1 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes (optional)
  • 2-3 soft Tomatoes
  • A slug of Brandy, Whisky or Calvados (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper


What you do:

  1. Butter a large, preferably cast iron, casserole (use one with a good lid, or make a lid from foil).
  2. Blend together the eggs, olive oil, tomato puree, garlic puree, tomatoes and alcohol.
  3. Mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl; use your hands, it’s much the easiest way.
  4. Tip the mixture into the casserole, press it down well and put on the lid.
  5. Cook near the bottom of a pre-heated oven at about 200C for 30-45 minutes. It’s done when the meat loaf is bubbling well and a knife stuck in the centre comes out hot.
  6. Leave to cool with the lid on; then refrigerate. If you can put weights on the top to press the resultant paté then so much the better.
  7. Eat with crusty bread & butter and a glass of wine or beer for lunch, or as a main course with salad or a good tomato sauce and pasta.



  1. Essentially you can throw into this more or less anything you like and have to hand.
  2. Bacon, ham or other cooked meats will add to the flavour and variety. Chopped chicken livers added also work well.
  3. If you can get good, low fat content, minced beef then this works well in a low fat version. Alliteratively you can make a high-fat version by adding some fat belly pork to the mix.
  4. Spinach, similar leaves or bunches of fresh herbs add a different dimension (you can even make a layer of spinach in the middle if you like).
  5. Don't overdo the alcohol otherwise the resulting paté is too wet.
  6. Don’t over cook this, although it must be cooled through properly. Apart from that it is generally fairly forgiving and you can vary the ingredients and quantities to suit your tastes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with it.

1 comment to this

hem said on 11 Sep 2008 at 16:00:48:

Great, I've been looking for a half decent meat loaf recipe, especially one I can play around with.

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posted by kcm on 03 Aug 08 - 6615 views


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