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Smoky Meatloaf Recipe

This is definitely not your mama's meatloaf recipe.  It has a bold taste and would be great served at a casual dinner party.  Don't forget meatloaf sandwiches for lunch the next day with the leftovers - if there are any leftovers!

Our smoky meatloaf recipe is adapted from a recipe by Grant Achatz from Food and wine, December 2006.  It makes 2 meatloaves if you use 9in x 4in loaf pans.  Meatloaf freezes nicely so you can serve one tonight and freeze the other for a quick home-made meal later.

This version of Chef Achatz's meatloaf uses more fennel seeds and no celery or celery seeds as the original recipe calls for.  The star anise is also left out but the Spanish paprika steals the day paired with the maple syrup.

Smoky Meatloaf Recipe Ingredients

• 2 Tablespoons fennel seeds
• 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
• 2 Tablespoons canola oil
• 1/4 cup chopped onion
• 1/4 cup finely chopped fennel bulb
• 1/4 cup minced green peppers
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 Tablespoons Spanish paprika
• 1 lb. uncooked bacon finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
• 3 lbs. ground beef chuck
• 3 large eggs
• 1/4 cup maple syrup
• 1 cup fresh pumpernickel bread crumbs
• 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, unsalted
• 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon salt

Smoky Meatloaf Recipe Directions

Using a mortar and pestle (or a spice grinder) grind the fennel seeds and peppercorns to a powder.  Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Use a large skillet and heat the 2 tablespoons of oil over low heat.  Add ground fennel, peppercorns, onion, chopped fennel bulb, green pepper, garlic and Spanish paprika to the oil. 

Cook with stirring until the vegetables are soft.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Combine the ground beef, bacon, eggs and maple syrup in a large mixing bowl.  Add the spiced vegetables, pumpernickel bread crumbs, pistachios, and salt to the meat mixture.  Use clean hands to mix the meatloaf until all ingredients are evenly distributed.

Split the meatloaf mixture into 2 loaf pans (9 x 4 inches) and bake for approximately 1 hour.  Make sure the meatloaf has an internal temperature of 160 degrees before removing from the oven.

Before slicing, let the smoky meatloaf rest for 10 minutes.

Grant Achatz also suggests serving this meatloaf with a prune sauce - I've adapted the recipe somewhat so I hope you enjoy.  You could also use this sauce over an easy meatloaf recipe or even with burgers.

• 1 cup pitted prunes
• 1 star anise pod
• 1/4 cup molasses
• 1 cup water
• 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
• 2 Tablespoons sugar

Place prunes, star anise, molasses, water, vinegar, and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the prunes are extremely soft.  This step can take over 20 minutes so be patient.  Remove the star anise pod and puree the remaining mixture.  You may choose to season the sauce with salt and pepper before serving over the sliced meatloaf.