Meatloaf For A Chef


UPDATE: printable recipe I wrote this post before I figured out how to offer a printable version – sorry about the delay!

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It’s a daunting thing to cook for a chef. More so if he is, arguably, the best chef in New Brunswick or perhaps even the Maritimes. The only reason that I did not have a complete meltdown is that I have done it before. Chef Axel Begner and his wife Margret are two of the most gracious guests that has ever sat at my table and we have been friends for a long time.

Actually, they did not sit at my table. We were at another friend’s home. It was a group effort. I have always wanted to cook on our mutual friend’s stove. It is an old gas range that she lovingly refers to as her ‘workhorse’. I have lusted after it for years. Sunday afternoon she kindly allowed me to have my way with it.

I prepared a grand antipasti of Tuscan artisan salamis and cheeses accompanied by a platter of roasted bell peppers with chevre and basil puree, a cold green stringbean salad in a mint and garlic vinaigrette and a crispy focaccia with rosemary and coarse sea salt.

I borrowed our ‘primi’ or first course after the antipasti from Jamie Oliver. Seared scallops on smashed cannellini beans with slow-roasted vine ripe tomatoes topped with a lemony arugula salad and crispy proscuitto.

For our ‘secondi’, I prepared meatloaf. Not the 1950’s style hamburger loaf with tomato soup poured over it. Oh no – this was a combination of sirloin roast and pork shoulder freshly ground with dried fennel seeds. I added fresh herbs, eggs, soft ciabatta crumbs, garlic and onion. Rather than making a loaf, I spread it out on a baking sheet, covered it with plump sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil and thick slices of creamy mozzarella then rolled it up. After roasting it, I served whole slices on pools of garlicky tomato sauce.

Uptown Meatloaf

serves 12

preheat oven 400*F

2 lbs beef sirloin, cut into 3″cubes

1 1/2 lb fatty pork shoulder, cut into 3″ cubes

2 tablespoons fennel seeds

1 medium onion, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups fresh good quality bread crumbs

1 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped

sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup V-8 juice

1/2 cup dry white wine

large bunch fresh basil leaves

6 ounces sun-dried tomatoes

1 lb fresh mozzarella, thickly sliced

Coarsely grind meats with fennel seeds.

In a large mixing bowl combine ground meats with eggs, breadcrumbs, parsley, onion, garlic, juice, wine and seasonings.

Place mixture on a parchment lined 16″ x 12″ baking sheet.

Spread out mixture to cover parchment.

Sprinkle meat with sundried tomatoes, basil leaves and 3/4 of mozzarella.

Roll up jelly-roll fashion.

Place in meatloaf in oven and roast for 1 hour.

Top with remaining mozzarella and roast until cheese is melted and golden.

Allow meat to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Serve with tomato sauce.

I could have completely eliminated my stress by succumbing to high-end products like raw oysters and a big prime-rib roast, to ensure success. I love both…

My hunch was that Axel would enjoy a bit of creativity.

My hunch was right!

Thanks for reading.

  • Kaitie

    you can make that for me when I come home next…cuz it looks pretty delish!

    • you got it!

      • Kaitie

        sooo…you didn’t make it. Next time maybe!!! Or when you come and visit!

  • The food is great….but the photography is outstanding!

    • I am working hard! I really appreciate your support.

  • Tanya

    Oh my! What a divine looking meal! I am definately going to make this one!

    • It was tastey! Let me know how you like the ‘meatloaf’.

  • Michèle Brideau

    The meatloaf looks absolutely divine and I’m with Judith your photos really add something special to each blog post Michelle!

  • meggie

    I think Theo and I would like this. So lets make it when we are home! xo

    • At this rate you will be staying for a month! Love it!!!!!!!!!!!

  • beyond amazing—scrumptious!! and i am sure Margret and Axel are VERY happy to have someone cook for them—probably most people are afraid to!! they live around the corner from me but it’s not likely i will be having them down for meatloaf!! haha. i did make a meatloaf once that had bluecheese in it–it does trump the usual fare! and YES,joanna and i were commenting on the wonderful shots you are taking—mouth watering!

  • David D.

    Hi Michelle, This sounds delicious! I have been trying to find the creamy mozzarella as shown in your pics (it’s also called homemade mozzarella too isn’t it?) where did you find it, have looked everywhere. cheers 🙂

    • Hey Dave! I bought it at Costco. Superstore has a product called ‘fresh mozzarella’ – that will work.

      Good luck!

  • I am going to make this for dinner tonight.

  • I am sending this to a good friend in the San Juan Islands to make for my birthday when I visit! WOWZA

    • Wonderful! Enjoy your birthday.

  • LaJohna Rials

    Cook at what temp?

    • At 400*F – I usually have the oven temp at the start of the recipe…

      Thanks for reading and enjoy!

  • Battah

    WOW it looks soooooo goooood. Thank you for sharing.

    • It really is! Thanks for reading.

  • Karen Brown

    I made this for family night. Seven adults and a 13 year old boy. It was enjoyed by all. A little time spent in preparation was worth it. Thank you.

    • My absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for letting me know!

  • Anonymous

    This looks incredible! Can ‘t wait to make

  • Anonymous

    Well just attempted your meatloaf. It is in the oven now I have company coming over for dinner. Lets hope it’s as good as yours. Thanks again for your recipe.

    • Let me know how you and your guests enjoyed it.I love that recipe!

  • Rachel K.

    Oh my, I am in love!!!! All of the food looks and sounds so rustic!!! I miss cooking like that!!! I will have to find some place to get all the I ingredients. I live n s small town that doesn’t have stores were you can buy anything above grade. But I will make a trip to make these!!! Thank you for sharing.

  • Kelly

    In the oven right now! The kids are excited for dinner tonight!

    • Awesome – let me know if you enjoy it! My family loves that recipe…

      • Anonymous

        Oh wow! Mines in the oven right now! I’ll let you know.

  • Hello Michelle,
    I found your recipe on pinterest. Since it is fall and rainy (and it looked good) I thought I would give it a try. DELICIOUS indeed! Thank you so much for sharing your talents and tastes! My family couldn’t stop raving about how good it is, and of course, I couldn’t disagree 😉 I was glad they liked it. For me the recipe was a large amount. I was able to roll it up and divide into thirds. ( I feed a family of 4, and tonight our daughter had a guest over.) So I wrapped the other two ” loaves” in freezer wrap, labeled, dated, and wrote cooking instructions on the wrap, placed in a baggie and placed into the freezer. We even had left overs. It was amazing wonderful and glad that I have 2 in the freezer. ( for the “what to make for dinner” nites and/or a last minute meal for a friend. I am looking through your other recipes to try. I will keep you updated……
    HIGHLY reccommend this to all others to make and enjoy!
    <3, Annette

    • I am so delighted that you enjoyed it! I love having goodies tucked away in the freezer for a “rainy” day. Thanks so much for reading my blog!

  • johanna downs

    Do I need to use a meat grinder? Can I substitue for different meat?

    • Grinding your own meat gives you more control over quality and texture but if you don’t own a meat grinder have your butcher do it for you. Substituting the meat will give you a different end result for sure. Experiment! It’s all part of the fun!

      Good luck and thanks for stopping by…

  • Kristen

    Hi! I’m just wondering what the internal temperature should be for the meatloaf right before you take it out to put the cheese on. Thanks!

    • I’ve never used a thermometer. I’ve only ever used the time indicated. Sorry about that…

  • Milena

    Hi Michelle,
    We don’t eat Pork in our family. What would you recommend for a suitable alternative?
    Excited to try this recipe.
    Thank you,

    • That’s a tough one. You need the pork for the fat content. Hmmm try a fatty piece of veal.

      Let me know how it turns out – good luck!

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  • If I have the butcher do my meat can I add the fennel seeds later or do I need to do something different before adding them?

    • Hi Andie, grind your fennel seeds and then add them when you mix the ground meat with the other ingredients. Leave the fennel seeds a lttle rough rather than grinding to a complete powder – I think you’ll enjoy the result!

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  • Lala10791

    I tried this, I wasn’t a fan at all! The cheese in top was too much and the dried tomatoes seemed like they didn’t belong.

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  • Julie

    I have a friend who had a little Italian restaurant. She made the first meatloaf I’d ever cared for (didn’t grow up with it and honestly mostly avoided it). She had sun-dried tomatoes and chunked cream cheese in it. It was amazing. I was searching for other recipies along this line, as I’ve made it, but it comes out a little dry. I was glad to see the idea of V-8 and wine. I think those will help a lot. I am really liking the fresh basil idea, too.

    • Hi Julie,

      My family loves this meatloaf. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback so I’m comfortable saying as far as meatloaves go this is a keeper!

  • “Meatloaf For A Chef | bite” in fact makes me personally think
    a little bit further. I personally loved each and every individual section of it.

    Thanks for your effort -Bette

  • Rachel

    I made this for dinner tonight! It was to die for! My family loved it too! Tank you so much for this!

    • Hi Rachel, sorry for the delay with my response. I’m visiting my daughter in Calgary so I’m a little slack. I’m so glad that you and your family enjoyed the meatloaf. It’s one of those recipes that is as fun to make as it is to eat!

  • belovedie

    That is the most beautiful meatloaf I have EVER seen. Kudos.

    • Wow…that’s quite a compliment. I’m kinda blushing. Thanks!

  • Molly McLarty

    Made this last night for my hubby and his brothers. They LOVE meat but HATE anything that grows from the ground. All 4 of them were razzing me when I was making it – “too much green stuff, its MEATloaf!” How satisfying it was to watch them eat their words! They’re already calling it the Friday night tradition! Thanks!

    • “Friday night tradition” – I love it! So glad you liked it.

  • Meg

    This looks amazing! I plan on making this soon for my family. I will probably half the recipe. Any tips about how to adjust the cook time? Thanks!

    • Hi there,
      I’ve only ever prepared the full recipe but funnily enough a girl friend of mine made it last week and she halved it. She said her cook time was 45 minutes…

      Hope this helps and thanks for dropping by!

      • Meg

        Great, thanks! It’s in the oven right now!

  • Jennifer H.

    Made this tonight and LOVED it. Thanks for sharing!

  • It looks scrumptious, my husband does not like cheese have you tried it without topping it with mozarella? Does it need the cheese inside as well?

    • What about doing his end without cheese? If you do let me know how it turns out. My family are BIG cheese lovers so I’ve always used the cheese.

  • Anonymous

    My mother is a meatloaf fan, we have meatloaf at our house at least twice a month. She is a southern cooker and raves about this meatloaf. She admits it’s better than hers or her mothers. I love my mother dearly but i must admit i agree with her. Thanks so much for this one of a kind dish. It’s a must try.

  • whitney

    Cooking in the oven now!!! I am so excited to try it! Smells wonderful

    • Awesome – let me know how it turns out!

      • whitney

        It was a big hit from toddlers to me and my husband! We are in italy, so I finallt used the local mozzarella!! I will be adding more the next time. I think I was short a ball. Thank you!!!! So yummy

        • How fun! So glad you liked it. Have a great time in Italy…

  • So I came to this recipe from Pinterest and was totally thrilled because I live in Moncton 🙂 What a neat small world! I’m also excited to try this meat loaf out!

    • What a small world indeed! So glad you found me and good luck with the meatloaf!

      • I;m copying the recipe now ,it sounds great.let you know.

  • Dee Emory

    It’s cooking right now and smells fantastic! Looking forward to meatloaf sandwiches this week! 😉

    • Awesome! Try it sliced on sour dough bread with some extra mozza then grill it…

  • Anonymous

    Got to try it….husband is meatloaf freak !

  • Allison Land

    Can I use ground pork and beef?
    I don’t have a meat grinder.

    • Absolutely! But ask for one for your birthday – you`ll never look back…

      • Allison Land

        OK thanks.. can’t wait to try it!

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  • I made it tonight and my husband commented “this is the best meatloaf I’ve ever had!” He hates meatloaf but loved this one! Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Do you pour the sauce over the meatloaf or on the side?

  • Jasmine

    I just made this, ate two slices, and drug myself straight to the couch. Wow it was awesome!!! Will be making this again and again!!!!!!!

  • Deanna Moore

    If I were to make it for a smaller serving size and use half of each ingredient how would I adjust the cooking temp? Also, if I were planning on freezing do you think I would freeze the meatloaf before its cooked (but all mixed together) or would I cook it and freeze it after?

    • I would check to see if it’s cooked at the half way point and judge from there. Either way… If you do make a half portion, let me know what the cook time ends up being.


    • Sally JoJo

      I make a meatloaf with 1 pound of meat and stuff with cheese and bake for 1 hour at 350 °. This looks great, looking forward to trying it too 🙂

  • Nancy

    That looks and sounds amazing, I will most definitely be trying that one………………………..YUMMY

  • Ana

    I made something similar to this meatloaf a few months ago and it was a hit! I’m making it again today as I been nagged for weeks by my sister in law and even my older nephews to make it again. I must admit I did not follow it all the way I always substitute when i dont have all ingredients. Maybe one day ill make it exactly as yours it does look delicious too! The first time I used ground beef ( dont have a meat grinder) Did not use fennel seeds or sun dried tomato and made my own v-8 juice. Used homemade croutons ( put in blender to make it in crumbs) and also seasoned meat mix with ground cumin, italian seasoning, oregano and dried basil leaves. I used spinach instead of parsley or basil. (For This time I did add parsley too)

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  • Anonymous

    This looks soooooo good, I have to try it.

  • How do I get just the recipe without all the pictures?

    • Barb Hewitt

      Click on the icon furthest right where it says ‘share this’. It’s a print option that will allow you to select printing with or without images.

    • Hi Lillian, I wrote this post before I knew how to offer a printable copy. I’ll update this today and send you the link.

    • Here’s the link which includes a printable recipe

  • Holly

    Made this tonight. Loved it as did the husband. Will go down as a new favorite.

  • Anonymous

    I made the meatloaf tonighT and it was WONDERFUL! Definitely making this again!

  • Nicole

    Is there a ground meat you can use in place of grounding your own meat?

    • Sure. Ask your butcher to grind it for you or if they won’t ask him/her to suggest the closet cut to the recipe. Good luck!

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  • Becki

    Making it tonight. Living in Panama, so had a difficult time finding ingredients. However, I was thrilled to find the sun-dried tomatoes and some grated mozzarella ( I know…sad), and I have fresh basil in the windowsill. Had to just use ground beef….so many subs….but I’m going to pretend it’s like yours and hopefully find all the ingredients one day to do the real thing. It looks yummy! Thanks. Oh, and personally, I always prefer NOT to use a loaf pan…they just cook so nicely in an open pan.

    • You are a trooper! It will be delicious. Thanks so much for reading and let me know how it turns out.

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  • Anonymous

    I made this on Sunday. It was wonderful. It was also good the next day. Excellent flavours.

    Thank you for sharing.

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  • Made this a few weeks ago for my family. Everyone said it was the best meatloaf ever. We had leftover meat loaf samies the next day as well. I’ve linked your website to many friends on twitter and had several try your recipe after seeing me posting it on Facebook! Thank you so much for recipe. I will be making it again very soon!

    • Michelle

      I’m delighted! Thanks so much for letting me know. Hope you’ll try some more…

  • Michelle

    How many does this recipe feed?

    • Michelle

      Oh my goodness…a lot of people. Easily 10. My family have big appetites so it’s always hard for me to tell – lol!

  • Lynda

    I made this a couple of weeks ago and whilst I didn’t mince my own beef and pork I don’t feel it made any difference as the result was incredibly good. It was easy and quick although it made more meatloaf than I expected and I ended up using a loaf pan as well as a large roll up as described above. I sliced and froze slices and even gave some to my daughter and her friend and they loved it too. We’ve had delicious ready made meals and I’m about to make it again.
    The result is not at all greasy with clearly defined tomato, cheese, basil layers, it looks great with the cheese cascading from the topping. I served with steamed vegetables and a spicy tomato sauce I made which was delicious, and I also served it with a spicy brown gravy other times which was also great. A really lovely recipe Michelle, thank you.

    • Your description sounds fantastic! I’m so pleased that you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by…

    • Lisa

      Hi the sauce and gravy sound great. Can you tell me how you made them.

      • Hi Lisa, the link for the sauce is on the post. Its my marinara sauce. Works great with the meatloaf!

  • Your butcher would have the meat that I grind already done at the butcher shop. You can absolutely add the fennel seeds to preground meat. You just have to grind them first before you add them. Hope that helps!

  • Darlene

    Michelle ! This looks so darn tasty, you are making me drool. We grow tomatoes and basil and make homemade mozza and other cheeses so I will definitely make this meatloaf. Thank you for sharing Michelle !

    • Hi Darlene, It really is delicious! With homegrown tomatoes and basil and homemade mozzarella it would be outrageous!

  • Hi Ree, Grinding the meat once will produce a coarser meatloaf. I like my meatloaf a little softer so I grind twice.

  • Marta R Gaughen

    Made this for the (extended…picky) family. I didn’t have the pork shoulder but replaced with a fattier ground beef. They loved it and had 2nds! This is definitely going in my “go-to” box. It was wonderful.

  • Donna Schroeder

    How would you cut this recipe down to feed 2-4 people without changing the flavor

    • Hi Donna, not every recipe reduces to produce the same flavour. You could try to take it to a quarter but I don’t think that it’ll be the same. Sorry about that.

  • swimmy44

    I like the idea of adding the V8 – I have some leftover cans of that – I would also season with mustard.

  • Francine Miles

    I made this meatloaf over the weekend. Use a meatloaf mix of pork veal and ground beef and added some gound Itlaian hot sausage. Didn’t add the fennel, or the V-8 Juice but added all of the other ingredients. It was wonderful, I will be making this again. I just gave the recipe to my co-worker she said she will be making this this weekend.. Thank you Michelle,

    • Hello Francine, Thanks so much for reaching out! I love it when my readers put their own spin on my recipes. It sounds delicious.

  • Sally kravat

    I love meatloaf sandwiches, and this meatloaf would be awesome the next day in a grilled focaccia with a garlic aoli. I will also spin the recipe a bit and change the basil to spinach and Omit the cheese and add partially cooked carrots and mushrooms; and that will be excellent in a meatloaf club sandwich with a warm slice of meatloaf, tomatoes and homemade mayo on lightly toasted bread! Obviously, you have inspired me! Thank you!

    • Wow! You’ve inspired me… Thanks for sharing your great ideas.