Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

Instead of using breadcrumbs to bind my meatloaf, I tear up bread into small pieces to provide delicate pockets of softness in each slice of meatloaf. For a decadent touch, I wrap the meatlof in bacon and then use a bit more bacon to make a velvety mushroom gravy. It's a perfect sauce for the meatloaf and works really well with a side of mashed potatoes, too.

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf
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Beef, Dinner, Pork, Seasonal, Veal, Winter
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  • 4 ounces cremini (baby bella) or white mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped (1-1/3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup minced yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces day-old rustic or dense white bread, torn into about 1/2-inch pieces (1-1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound ground beef (85% lean)
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 slices center-cut bacon
  • Mushroom Gravy
Mushroom Gravy:
  • 1 cup lower-salt beef or chicken broth; more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 slices center-cut bacon, minced
  • 6 ounces cremini (baby bella) or white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced about 1/8 inch thick (2 packed cups)
  • 1/2 cup minced yellow onion
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
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Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, toss the mushrooms with the onion, sherry, garlic, 1-1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread, milk, and egg. Stir well, lightly mashing the bread until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the beef, veal, pork, brown sugar, Worcestershire, and the onion-mushroom mixture. Using a large, sturdy wooden spoon or your hands, gently mix just until all the ingredients are blended; you may need to push the meat against the side of the bowl to get the pieces to break up.
Put the meat mixture in a 9x13-inch metal baking pan. Shape the mixture into a rectangular loaf about 10x4 inches. Wrap the strips of bacon around the loaf crosswise, overlapping them slightly and tucking the ends securely under the loaf. Pat the loaf back into shape if necessary.
Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads 160 degrees F, 60 to 70 minutes. Take the meatloaf out of the oven and position the oven rack about 6 inches from the broiling element. Heat the broiler to high. Broil the meatloaf until the bacon is brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Let the loaf rest at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.
Use two flat spatulas to transfer the meatloaf to a serving platter. Slice and serve with the mushroom gravy.
Make Ahead:
You can form the meatloaf up to 8 hours ahead and refrigerate until ready to bake.
Fried meatloaf--crisp and golden-brown on the outside and steaming-hot on the inside--is a delicious, diner-inspired way to serve leftover meatloaf.
Sherry-Mushroom Gravy:
Combine the broth with 1 cup of hot water. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring to break apart the pieces, until just starting to crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms have cooked through and start to brown the bottom of the pan, 5 to 8 minutes.
Add the sherry and stir to release the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 1 minute. Sprinkle in the flour and stir constantly until the mixture has browned and is slightly dry and crumbly, about 30 seconds.
Whisk in half of the broth mixture and continue whisking until the liquid is absorbed into the flour, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the remaining broth mixture and bring the gravy to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and thin with water or broth if necessary. Transfer to a small saucepan, cover, and keep warm. Reheat the gravy if necessary before serving.
Make Ahead:
This gravy can be made up to 1 day ahead and reheated over medium-low heat.
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