Meatloaf is a dish of ground meat that has been mixed with other ingredients and formed into the shape of a loaf, then baked or smoked. The final shape is either hand-formed on a flat pan or created by cooking it in a loaf pan. It is usually made with ground beef, although ground lamb, pork, veal, venison, poultry and seafood are also used.
The cooked loaf can be sliced like a loaf of bread to make individual portions. Because the dish can become dry, various techniques aim to keep the dish moist by either covering it with sauce or wrapping it, using moisture-enhancing ingredients in the mixture, or filling it with meats, cheese, or other vegetables.
Meatloaf of minced meat was mentioned in the Roman cookery collection Apicius as early as the 5th century. Meatloaf is a traditional German, Scandinavian and Belgian dish, and it is a cousin to the Dutch meatball. American meatloaf has its origins in scrapple, a mixture of ground pork and cornmeal served by German-Americans in Pennsylvania since colonial times. Meatloaf in the contemporary American sense did not appear in cookbooks until the late 19th century.
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In Argentina it is usually called Pan de carne. It is typically filled with ham, cheese, and carrots (or some other vegetable).
The Austrian meatloaf version is called Faschierter Braten. Most of the time it is not filled (e.g., in Germany), but it is wrapped in ham before baking it. Often it is served with mashed potatoes (when warm) or with sauce cumberland (when cold).
The Belgian version of meatloaf is called vleesbrood (meatbread) in Dutch and pain de viande in French. It is usually served warm and can then be served with various sauces, but can also be eaten cold with a loaf of bread.
Chilean meatloaf, known as Asado Aleman (German roasted meat) is a staple of southern Chile cuisine, especially in areas known for having been influenced by the arrival of German settlers during the 18th and 19th century. The most common recipe nowadays consists of ground beef, carrots, sausages, boiled eggs and breadcrumbs, cooked on the oven and normally served with a side-dish of mashed potatoes or rice.
The Cuban meatloaf is called pulpeta. It is made with ground beef and ground ham, and stuffed with hard boiled eggs, and it is cooked on the stovetop. The dish was brought to public attention, mistakenly referred to as a sausage, in the second episode of the third season of The Cosby Show entitled "Food for Thought".
In the Czech Republic, meatloaf is referred to as sekaná ('chopped'). It is optional to put hard boiled eggs, gherkins, or wienerwurst inside.
Danish meatloaf is called forloren hare 'mock hare' or farsbrød 'ground-meat bread' and is usually made from a mixture of ground pork and beef with strips of bacon or cubed bacon on top. It is served with boiled or mashed potatoes and brown sauce sweetened with red currant jam.
Finnish meatloaf is called lihamureke. It is completely based on the basic meatball recipe. The only spices used are salt and pepper. It is not customary to stuff lihamureke with anything. The usual side dish is mashed potatoes, and lihamureke is usually served with brown sauce.
In Germany, meatloaf is referred to as Hackbraten, Faschierter Braten or Falscher Hase 'mock hare'. In some regions it often has boiled eggs inside.
Stefania meatloaf (Hungarian: Stefánia szelet) or Stefania slices are a type of Hungarian long meatloaf baked in a loaf pan, with 3 hard boiled eggs in the middle, making decorative white and yellow rings in the middle of the slices.
In Italy, meatloaf is called polpettone and can be filled with eggs, ham and cheese and other ingredients.
In Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine, meatloaf is called Klops (Hebrew: קלופס) and can be served cold or hot. It is sometimes filled with whole boiled eggs. The name presumably comes from German Klops 'meatball'.
In Lebanon, kibbeh (ground beef or lamb mixed with burgul) can sometimes be formed in a loaf and baked. It is sometimes made from raw meat.
Rolat is a similar dish to the chiefly Arab, though also Persian and South-Asian, kofta. Ground beef is rolled and cooked until brown. It can be cooked with vegetables and various sauces.
It is known as albondigón and has a small size.
хучмал (khoochmal) is served with mashed potatoes cooked over the ground meat.
The Dutch version of meatloaf is called gehaktbrood and can be eaten warm or cold. A mini-version of meatloaf called slavink is also served in the Netherlands.
Embutido (not to be confused with the Spanish embutido) is made of well-seasoned ground pork, raisins, minced carrots, sausages, and whole boiled eggs. The meat is molded into a roll with the sausages and hard boiled eggs set in the middle. Another variation of the dish involves wrapping the meatloaf with pork crow or mesentery. It is then wrapped in aluminum foil (historically, banana leaves) and steamed for an hour. The cooked embutido may be stored in freezers. It is usually served fried and sliced for breakfast.
Hardinera is a Filipino meatloaf made with diced or ground pork topped with sliced hard-boiled eggs, pineapples, carrots, bell peppers, peas, tomatoes, and raisins, among others.
Called pieczeń rzymska ("Roman roast") or klops is made of ground pork and/or beef, onions and garlic, with obligatory hard boiled egg inside.
In Puerto Rican cuisine, meatloaf is known as albondigón. Puerto Rican style meatloaf is made with ground pork, beef, turkey, adobo, worcestershire sauce, milk, ketchup, potatoes, red beans, breadcrumb, parsley, with a hard-boiled egg in the middle.
In Romanian cuisine, there is a meatloaf dish called drob, similar to other minced meat dishes in the region like the Bulgarian Rulo Stefani or the Hungarian Stefánia meatloaf, the major difference being that it is always made with lamb organs (or a mixture of lamb organs and pork or veal) and the hard boiled eggs in the centre of the drob are optional.
One of South Africa's most popular dishes is a form of meatloaf called bobotie. Food in South Africa varies by region, and bobotie is considered a Cape Town or Western Cape dish, but is so popular throughout the country that it is sometimes considered one of South Africa's signature dishes. It is a slightly sweet meatloaf flavored with curry spices, dried apricots and almonds, and is topped with whipped egg and milk topping that when baked on top of the meat filling creates an egg "topping". It arrived in South Africa several hundred years ago from the East Indies and became one of the signature dishes of Cape Town's Cape Malay community.
Swedish meatloaf is called köttfärslimpa and is usually made from a mixture of ground pork and beef. It is served with boiled or mashed potatoes, brown sauce and lingonberry jam.
During the Great Depression, cooking meatloaf was a way for families to stretch the food budget by using an inexpensive type of meat and leftover ingredients. Along with spices, it was popular to add cereal grains, bread or saltines to the meatloaf to add bulk and stretch the meat. This tradition of additions still lives on, but with new goals: primarily, producing a lower-fat dish with superior binding and consistency.
American-style meatloaf is typically eaten with some kind of sauce or relish, often applied before cooking. Many recipes call for a pasta sauce or tomato sauce to be poured over the loaf, to form a crust during baking. One of these tomato-based sauces may be substituted with a simple brown or onion gravy, or a can of cream of mushroom soup, but the meatloaf is prepared in a similar manner. Barbecue sauce, tomato ketchup, or a mixture of ketchup and prepared mustard may also be used. This style of meatloaf may be topped with a "meatloaf sauce" consisting of ketchup and brown sugar. Another variety of meatloaf, in the same style, is prepared by "frosting" the loaf with mashed potatoes, drizzling a small amount of butter over the top, and then browning it in the oven.
American-style meatloaf is normally served warm, as part of the main course, but it can also be sliced as a cold cut (and then used in sandwiches). This dish can be considered a typical comfort food in the US, and so it is served in many diners and restaurants. In a 2007 poll by Good Housekeeping, meatloaf was the seventh-favorite dish of Americans.
The Vietnamese meatloaf version is called giò. It is boiled rather than baked or smoked. There are many versions of giò that differ by the ingredients used.
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