Ian’s Great Meatloaf

October 12, 2010

This is my favorite meatloaf. It’s a recipe that Ian Knauer invented for Gourmet a couple of years ago, brilliantly deciding to lace the bacon through the loaf itself, instead of laying it on top. He balances the smokiness of the bacon with the sweetness of prunes, then punches the flavor up with Worcestershire sauce and a touch of vinegar. I’ve increased the onion in the recipe a bit, and upped the proportion of pork to beef, but otherwise the recipe is pretty much the way he originally wrote it. This recipe will feed 6 to 8 people, but you really want to have some leftover. I love it reheated for breakfast, topped with a fried egg.

Bacon-Prune Meatloaf

Soak 1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs in 1/3 cup whole milk in a bowl large enough to eventually hold all ingredients.

Chop 2 onions. Smash 3 cloves of garlic.Chop a rib of celery and a carrot. Saute them all in 2 tablespoons of butter until tender and wilted. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar, 1 ground allspice clove, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Add to bread-crumb mixture.

Grind 1/4 pound of bacon and 1/2 cup pitted prunes in a food processor, then add to onion mixture along with 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck, 3/4 pounds ground pork, 2 eggs and 1/3 cup chopped parsley Mix it together, gently, with your hands.

Pack mixture into an oval loaf in a 13- by 9-inch shallow baking dish or pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour and a quarter. Let stand 10 minutes
(or longer) before serving.

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  • This is a unique meatloaf preparation that I can’t wait to try. The choice of ingredients is brilliant.

  • Mama mia…now that’s a meatloaf…I think I’ll be making that for a Sunday Dinner.

  • Dear Ruth:
    I am a BIG fan of your writing (Tender at the bone is my “I wish I wrote that” book). I am currently reading “Garlic and Sapphires” (hilarious!).
    I found your blog through today’s link of the Food New Journal.
    Subscribing to your blog right now! 🙂
    Amelia from Z Tasty Life

  • Katecondit says:

    Hi Ruth. I’ve loved your books and musings for years..recipes are wonderful as well. I have a signed copy of ‘Comfort Me..’ left for me by the family that I bought my little cabin from in Arnold, Ca 7 years ago…(I believe a friend of yours, Maria Cunningham?) Your stories, straight from your heart and soul have inspired me in my quest to share my writing, cooking, baking and photographs with the world. Thank you!

  • Heidij74 says:

    I made this meatloaf around the holidays last year along with the the other receipes that appeared in the same article (brussels/carrots, potatoes, salad, devil dog cake). I had saved the article from Gourmet and had been waiting for an opportunity to prepare the meal in its entirety. I’m sure the meatloaf would be great on its own, but the meal was fantastic served as proscribed by the article. (I hate to use the word “proscribed” with respect to food, but for some reason I felt a need to be true to the menu presented in the article as written). Thanks for all those great issues of Gourmet. I still miss it!!

  • Kimbogle says:

    This meatloaf sounded a bit different and yummy – I finally made it tonight. A wonderfully wet and stormy afternoon made “something in the oven” for dinner a must-do! I followed the recipe exactly as written and my meat mixture was very wet. That seemed okay – until it came out of the oven, it must have been sitting in 1/2 inch of liquid, from the veggies and the bacon I’m sure. I loved the flavors (wish I thought ahead and said wine with dinner!) but I probably should have paid more attention and drained off that liquid earlier – it really changed the texture on that bottom half inch. Or perhaps I should have used my meatloaf pan I seldom drag out. I will definitely make this again, not change anything about the recipe – but only change how I bake it. Yum!