Aahhh, meat loaf. It’s the ultimate comfort food, isn’t it? I’ve always associated meat loaf as a colder weather dish, definitely not spring fare. But when I saw a recipe for meat loaf that used veal, not beef or pork, and included lots of dill, an herb that undeniably shouts SPRING! well, I knew that May was the perfect month for making such a dish.
My hunch was correct. This meat loaf was incredibly light and moist. The flavors were spectacular, with the dill being very present but not at all overwhelming (as dill can sometimes be). It was such a cheerful and happy spring meat loaf! I would gladly make it again.
Some recipe notes: I found this in a Steven Raichlen book, which of course called for grilling it, but which I didn’t feel like doing at that moment, so I adapted it for the oven. Also, the recipe as written had no topping or glaze or anything. And while I’m all too aware that the old school tomato sauce topping can be a little icky and flavorless, I thought nothing at all was a bit odd. So I came up with a mustard dill sauce for serving alongside. It married with the meat loaf quite nicely and really rounded everything out.
Another note/pet peeve: never cook meat loaf in a loaf baking pan. Always shape the loaf on a greased baking sheet. This way, the top will brown and caramelize, and it won’t be swimming in the excess water and fat. If you cook it in a loaf pan, it basically just steams, whereas on the baking sheet, it can properly roast.
Source: adapted from BBQ USA by Steven Raichlen
1 small to medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ lbs. ground veal, preferably humanely raised
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 large egg
1 large egg white
3 tbs finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tbs finely chopped fresh dill
1/3 cup fizzy club soda
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ cup sour cream
2 generous tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbs finely chopped fresh dill
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle with olive oil, then add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat and let cool a little bit.
In a large bowl, add the veal, bread crumbs, egg, egg white, parsley, 3 tbs dill, club soda, salt and pepper. Add the sautéed onions and garlic. Using a large spoon or clean hands, mix everything together until just combined. Do not overmix.
Dump the meat mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and shape into a loaf. Insert a meat thermometer into the center. Bake until the thermometer reads 170 F, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the sour cream sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mustard and 1 tbs fresh dill. Refrigerate until needed.
Remove the meat loaf from the oven when done and let rest for about 10 minutes. Then slice and serve with the sour cream sauce.