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Marvellous Meatloaf

I believe my mum originally found this recipe in the food left-out of the Herald Sun newspaper a couple of years ago, and it has become quite a family staple. It was by Matt Preston, a British-Australia restaurant critic and food writer (and most well known as one of the judges on MasterChef Australia).

This meatloaf is great served with potatoes (any style) and any your other ‘two veg’. Tonight, I served it along-side spinach pie. Any leftovers are delicious on toast.

I’ve made a couple of adjustments to the recipe, most notably substituting the rolled oats for crushed Weet-Bix, and using ordinary black pepper instead of cayenne.

Serves approx 8.

1kg beef mince
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled, trimmed, crushed and finely chopped
1 cup rolled oats
1 large egg
1 cup milk
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar (the darker the better)
1 tbsp mustard (Dijon is best)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 180°C/375°F/Gas Mark 4. Mix mince, onion and garlic together. Stir in oats. Add the egg and mix. Add milk and stir it in. Pull the whole mixture together but do not overwork it.

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Line a large loaf tin with foil and then non-stick baking paper. Decant the mince-mix into the loaf tin, pressing down into the corners.

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While the meatloaf starts cooking, heat the tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, mustard and pepper (if using) in a saucepan over a medium heat until it looks thick and syrupy. Taste and adjust seasoning. This takes around 15 minutes. Add a little extra Worcestershire sauce if it’s too thick. The sauce will be used as a glaze, which means when you eat it, it will be greatly reduced and its flavours intensified, so don’t be too tempted to add loads more cayenne.

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After half an hour, pull out the meatloaf. Using a skewer, poke holes into the meatloaf and pour the sauce over the top of the meatloaf.

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Return to the oven for 40 minutes but check the meatloaf after half an hour as cooking time will be affected by the thickness of your meatloaf, the starting temperature of your ingredients and your oven. When cooked (if you have an oven thermometer, its internal temperature should have reached 65°C), take it from the oven.
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You want the meatloaf to be cooked through and the glaze to have gone all sticky, tangy and caramelly. Allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before removing from the loaf tin and serving.

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