1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion (diced)
1 garlic clove (minced)
1 bay leaf ½ medium red bell pepper (finely diced-about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey (preferably dark meat)
1 large egg (lightly beaten)
5 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
6 tablespoons ketchup
1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper(optional)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 375 ° F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and coat the paper with cooking spray. In a large skillet,heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, and bay leaf and cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until the onion is tender, about 6 minutes.
2. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and thyme and cook for 2 minutes. Scrape the onion mixture into a bowl and let cool. Discard the bay leaf.
3. In a large bowl, combine the meat, egg, bread crumbs, 4 tablespoons ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne (if using), salt, pepper, and cooled onion-and-garlic mixture. Blend the ingredients with your hands. As soon as the ingredients are well combined, stop blending even if the mix isn’t completely uniform. (Don’t overwork the mixture or you’ll risk ending up with a dry meat loaf.)
4. Transfer the meat mixture to the parchment-lined baking sheet and form it into a loaf. Alternatively, place the mixture in an 8- by 4-inch loaf pan to mold it, then turn it out onto the baking sheet. Coat the meat loaf with the remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup; if excess ketchup drips onto the parchment, wipe it off with a paper towel so it doesn’t burn while the meat loaf is baking. Bake the meat loaf for about 1 hour, until the crust is richly browned and a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 165 ° F. Let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve.
GLAMOUR GIRL TIP:
Use any leftovers to make a terrific meat loaf sandwich: In a toaster oven or broiler, toast 2 slices of your favorite bread, arranging a few thin slices of Cheddar or mozzarella cheese on one side so they melt onto the bread. Then remove the bread from the toaster, spread the plain slice with mustard and a little ketchup, and top with a slice of meat loaf, a drizzle of olive oil, a few shreds of fresh basil leaves, and the second slice of bread.
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