Fluffy and adorable mini meat loaves baked with some potato wedges for a perfect dinner!
I wanted to paint you a picture. I was about to tell you that this is a recipe for the Sundays, when your whole family gathers around the table, talking loudly and teasing each other under the clattering noise of glasses and plates while anxiously waiting to taste some delicious food. Or suggest that you should make this dish when you have your best friends over and want to indulge them with something really nice; something that has the rustic look and the sweet smell of the foods your grandma used to take out of the oven after having them made with extra care and affection. And I wanted to portray a cold winter’s evening, to contrast the warmth of this dish. At that point, a thought shattered my picture to pieces. This recipe is perfect not only for a cold winter’s evening, but is also ideal for a hot summer day! Actually I would call it an all-weather dish… So, there goes my little story…
At least I’ve got my mini loaves!
This is a classic greek recipe like this chicken soup risotto and this super delicious and super healthy mediterranean potato salad. I remember, when I first tried it, it came out OK but the texture was off. And that continued to happen during my first tries. The mini loaves came out a little dense or dry. I tried adding some grated vegetables for extra moisture, vinegar to tenderize them – as some suggest – and not overworking the mixture since it’s believed it toughens them up. Oddly enough, some other group of cooks suggests overworking the minced meat mixture in order to break the tissue of the meat, making it more tender. Nothing worked. I was confused, pissed and terrified.
Why is there so much mixed information?
Will I be able to find some kind of solution?
And will I ever have the chance to eat a really good, tender and fluffy meat loaf???
I eventually concluded that I needed something to come in between the meat’s tissues and not let them stick to each other making the loaves dense. For this reason, stale bread crumbs will become your best friends! 😛
For the crumbs, I plan ahead and buy a loaf of bread two days before I want to make this recipe. Then, in a food processor I process the quantity I need and I’m ready… If you can’t plan one/two days ahead, you can keep some stale crumbs in your freezer or you can even use some store bought. Just place them in a pan for a while to dry up a little.
Note: The quantity of the crumbs may seem a lot. But consider that their weight is only 5 oz (150 grams).
Searching for another one pan, easy recipe? Try this healthy baked fish with vegetables!
- For the mini loaves
- 1 pound (1/2 kg) minced beef
- 2 1/2 full cups stale bread crumbs (150-175 grams)
- 1 onion, finely chopped or grated
- 1/2 cup grated tomato, juices and all
- 1- 1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated pepper
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 Tbsp water or white wine
- For the potatoes
- 2 pounds potatoes
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3/4 cup water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- Preheat oven at 365℉ (185℃)
- In a large bowl mix by hand all of the ingredients for the loaves except the milk. Work it well with your hands and start adding the milk until a soft but pliable mixture is formed. You may not need all of the milk.
- Grease your hands with some olive oil, separate the mixture into 8 equal portions and form mini meat loaves. Place them in pan large enough to fit them and the potatoes.
- Clean and peel the potatoes and cut them into small wedges (not to big, because they will not have been cooked through by the time the loaves are ready) and place them in the pan.
- Mix the rest of the ingredients and pour over the potatoes. Shake the pan for even distribution.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, turning the loaves and potatoes halfway through baking time. If juices are almost evaporated add some water
- When loaves have browned and potatoes are fork tender, take out of the oven and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Transfer to plates, spoon some of the thickened juices on top and serve with some salad.