Layered meatloaf

    1 hour 10 min

    My take on the ever-popular meatloaf: real comfort food that's inexpensive, easy-to-make and very tasty.

    Languedoc-Roussillon, France
    3 people made this

    Makes: 1 meatloaf

    • 3 to 4 carrots, left whole
    • 2 handfuls fresh spinach, or 250g if frozen
    • 500g lean minced beef
    • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
    • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 good squirt tomato puree
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 splash good quality balsamic vinegar
    • 1/2 glass red wine (drink the other half while you are doing all this hard work)
    • 1 good teaspoon English or Dijon mustard
    • 1 cupful dried breadcrumbs (panko are good but not essential)
    • dried mixed herbs to taste
    • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    • For topping
    • 2 tablepoons porridge oats
    • 2 tablepoons tomato ketchup
    • 1 teaspoon dried or chopped fresh mixed herbs
    • 1 tablespoon caster sugar

    Prep:35min  ›  Cook:35min  ›  Ready in:1hr10min 

    1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C / 180 C Fan / Gas 6. Line a loaf tin with baking parchment.
    2. Par-boil the carrots for 10 minutes or so in lightly salted water, until tender but still firm. Drain and leave to cool, then slice each carrot lengthways into 3 parts. Either wilt fresh spinach in boiling water or gently cook frozen spinach until just defrosted. Drain well and pat dry with kitchen towel.
    3. Use a fork to mix all of the topping ingredients together in a smallish bowl, and leave to one side.
    4. Mix all of the other ingredients together using a wooden spoon. It's important to take time over this, making sure that everything is mixed really well, with no odd lumps or "grouped" ingredients.
    5. Put about half of the meatloaf mixture in the loaf tin and push down with a fork until level. Put the sliced carrots in a layer on top of this, then layer the spinach on top of the carrots, pushing down gently with a fork or clean hands to get rid of any air-pockets. Then put the rest of the meatloaf mixture on top of the spinach, again pushing it down to make it flat. You need to fill all but the last 4mm or so of the loaf tin. If you've got any meatloaf mixture left over, it can be frozen, or shaped into patties - it makes lovely burgers.
    6. Make sure the topping ingredients are well blended, then spoon it evenly over the top of the meatloaf.
    7. Put the tin on a baking sheet, then place in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and carefully cover it with kitchen foil to stop the topping from burning. Return to the oven and cook for a further 15 or 20 minutes until cooked through - you may need more or less time depending on your oven, though the odd five minutes over is not that critical.
    8. Remove the dish from the oven and leave to cool slightly (5 minutes or so) then use a sharp knife to cut slices of about 4cm thickness.
    9. Serve with mashed or plain boiled potatoes, a simple vegetable like peas or green beans, and nice onion gravy.


    The vegetables for layering can be varied: I've made this with layers of sliced leeks sautéed gently until just soft; roasted red peppers (either home-roasted in olive oil or from a jar or can, washed, dried and sliced); peeled and sliced fresh plum tomatoes; sweet potatoes (sliced thickly then par-boiled until just tender); grilled courgettes (from the freezer compartment in my case); and various others. I think it is best with a contrast of colours in the vegetables, but whatever you like best.

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