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Dad’s Meatloaf with Onion Gravy

Dad's Meatloaf with Onion Gravy

By Chef-Owner at Ruby Watchco, Lynn Crawford

Lynn Crawford

Lynn Crawford

My father loved to cook.

I loved being in the kitchen with him. He always made cooking fun. Dad had some unique recipes! (I say that with a big smile on my face.) There was a period when I was growing up when Dad came home from work earlier than my mother. He would get dinner started, and when Mum came home the meal would be ready on the table. His meatloaf was my favourite. Those great, comforting recipes from home—isn’t that what we all gravitate to? There’s a special sense of pleasure that comes from recipes handed down to us from parents and grandparents. They’re such a gift.

– Lynn Crawford


  • 250 mL (1 cup) bread crumbs (preferably panko)
  • 75 mL (¹⁄³ cup) milk
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 60 mL (¼ cup) ketchup
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp dry mustard
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped thyme
  • Salt, pepper
  • 750 g (1¾ lb) ground pork (preferably Berkshire)
  • 500 g (about 1 lb) ground beef (preferably chuck)
  • 250 g (about ½ lb) ground veal
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 75 mL (¹⁄³ cup) finely chopped parsley

Onion Gravy:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 125 mL (½ cup) red wine
  • 500 mL (2 cups) veal stock
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper

One happy family

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and milk, and then set aside to soak. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, celery, carrot, garlic and bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft—about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard and thyme. Season well with salt and pepper. Add to the breadcrumb mixture and set aside to cool. Add the pork, beef, veal, eggs and parsley. Gently mix with your hands but do not over-mix.

Turn the mixture out into a shallow baking dish—about 33 cm by 23c m (13-inch by 9-inch)—and shape the mixture into an oval loaf—about 23 cm by 13 cm (9-inch by 5-inch). Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the centre of the meat loaf registers 68°C (155°F)—about one to two hours.

To make the gravy, heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and caramelized—about 15 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for one minute. Stir in the red wine and reduce by half. Add the stock, thyme and bay leaf. Simmer, stirring, until the gravy is slightly thickened— about eight to 10 minutes. Add the parsley and season. To serve, slice the meatloaf into thick slices. Serve with mashed potatoes and lots of onion gravy.

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