Meatloaf is a dish of ground meat formed into a loaf shape, mixed with egg and breadcrumbs, then baked or smoked. The loaf shape is formed by either cooking it in a loaf pan, or forming it by hand on a flat baking pan. Meatloaf is usually made from ground beef, although lamb, pork, veal, venison, and poultry or a combination are also used.
The meatloaf has European origins; meatloaf of minced meat was mentioned in the famous Roman cookery collection Apicius as early as the 5th century. Meatloaf is a traditional German and Belgian dish, and it is a cousin to the Dutch meatball. American meatloaf has its origins in scrapple, a mixture of ground pork and cornmeal served by German-Americans in Pennsylvania since Colonial times. However, meatloaf in the contemporary American sense did not appear in cookbooks until the late 19th century.
||This section may contain original research. (November 2012)|
Many meatloaf recipes are interchangeable with meatball recipes, the distinction coming from shape and from the accompaniments or choice of sauce. Sometimes a form of tomato sauce or ketchup is also mixed with the meat before baking.
The ground meat may be mixed with a binder such as eggs, breadcrumbs and TVP, small pieces of bread soaked in milk (or red wine or another liquid), or wheat germ, finely ground almonds, or oatmeal, to make it more dough-like. Salt, spices and herbs (such as parsley), as well as chopped vegetables (such as onions, green peppers and celery), may also be added. Some recipes add strips of bacon on top. Meatloaf may be filled with eggs, cheese, vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, or a combination of these ingredients. Sometimes meatloaf is made by adding meat and sometimes also eggs to a meatloaf mix before baking. A regular oven is not required. Meatloaf can be cooked in a slow cooker or in a microwave oven.
International variations 
- The Austrian meatloaf version is called Faschierter Braten. Most of the time it is not filled (e.g., in Germany), but it is wrapped in ham before baking it. Often it is served with mashed potatoes (when warm) or with sauce cumberland (when cold).
- The Belgian version of meatloaf is called pain de viande. It is usually served warm and can then be served with various sauces, but can also be eaten cold with a loaf of bread.
- Rulo Stefani (Bulgarian: Руло Стефани). The Bulgarian rulo Stefani meatloaf is similar to the Hungarian Stefánia meatloaf, with hard-boiled eggs in the middle.
- Czech Republic
- In the Czech Republic, meatloaf is referred to as sekaná ('chopped'). It is optional to put hard boiled eggs, gherkins, or wienerwurst inside.
- Danish meatloaf is called forloren hare 'mock hare' or farsbrød 'ground-meat bread' and is usually made from a mixture of ground pork and beef with strips of bacon or cubed bacon on top. It is served with boiled or mashed potatoes and brown sauce sweetened with red currant jelly.
- Finnish meatloaf is called lihamureke. It is completely based on the basic meatball recipe. The only spices used are salt and pepper. It is not customary to stuff lihamureke with anything. The usual side dish is mashed potatoes, and lihamureke is usually served with brown sauce.
- In Germany, meatloaf is referred to as Hackbraten, Faschierter Braten or Falscher Hase 'mock hare'. In some regions it often has boiled eggs inside.
- Greater Middle East
- Kafta or kofta is a similar dish which the mixture can be made into hamburgers and kebabs. It usually has parsley in it.
- In Greece, meatloaf is referred to as rolo (Ρολό) and it is usually filled with hard boiled eggs, although several other variations exist.
- Stefania meatloaf (Hungarian: Stefánia szelet) or Stefania slices are a type of Hungarian long meatloaf baked in a loaf pan, with 3 hard boiled eggs in the middle, making decorative white and yellow rings in the middle of the slices.
- In Italy, meatloaf is called polpettone and can be filled with eggs or ham and cheese.
- Jewish cuisine
- In Jewish cuisine, meatloaf is called Klops (Hebrew: קלופס) and can be served cold or hot. It is sometimes filled with whole boiled eggs. The source of the word might be German, Klops, meaning meatball.
- "Kafa" or "Kofta" (Arabic: كفتة) is the Lebanese version of meatloaf. It is usually beef or lamb mixed with onions, parsley, and various spices flattened into a square loaf and covered in either tomato sauce or tahini sauce. It is baked with the sauces and enjoyed with rice and potatoes (usually baked with the kafta). Kafta or Kofta is also turned into kababs and grilled during the summer months.
- Rolat is a similar dish to the chiefly Arab, though also Persian and South-Asian, kofta. Ground beef is rolled and cooked until brown. It can be cooked with vegetables and various sauces.
- хучмал (khoochmal) is served with mashed potatoes cooked over the ground meat.
- There is a meatloaf dish called embotido made of well seasoned ground pork, minced carrots, sausages, and whole boiled eggs. The meat is molded into a roll with the sausages and hard boiled eggs set in the middle. It is then wrapped in aluminum foil (historically, banana leaves) and steamed for an hour. The cooked embotido may be stored in freezers. It is usually served fried and sliced for breakfast.
- In Romanian cuisine, there is a meatloaf dish called drob, similar to other minced meat dishes in the region like the Bulgarian Rulo Stefani or the Hungarian Stefánia meatloaf, the major difference being that it is always made with lamb organs (or a mixture of lamb organs and pork or veal) and the hard boiled eggs in the centre of the drob are optional.
- South Africa
- One of South Africa's most popular dishes is a form of meatloaf called bobotie. Food in South Africa varies by region, and bobotie is considered a Cape Town or Western Cape dish, but is so popular throughout the country that it is sometimes considered one of South Africa's signature dishes. It is a slightly sweet meatloaf flavored with curry spices, dried appricots and almonds, and is topped with whipped eggs. It arrived in South Africa several hundred years ago from the East Indies and became one of the signature dishes of Cape Town's "coloured" community.
- United States
- In 2007, meatloaf was voted the seventh-favorite dish in the United States according to Good Housekeeping.
- During the Great Depression, cooking meatloaf was a way to stretch the food budget for families, using an inexpensive type of meat and other ingredients as leftovers; along with spices, it was popular to add cereal grains to the meatloaf to stretch the meat. The tradition lives on with the merits of producing a lower-fat dish with superior binding and consistency.
- The meatloaf is typically eaten with some kind of sauce or relish. Many of these recipes call for pasta sauce or tomato sauce to be poured over the loaf to form a crust during baking. The tomato-based sauce may be replaced with simple brown gravy or onion gravy, but the meatloaf is prepared in a similar manner. Barbecue sauce, tomato ketchup, or a mixture of both tomato ketchup and mustard may also be used. American meatloaf may be garnished with ketchup.
- Another variety of meatloaf is prepared by frosting it with mashed potatoes, drizzling it with a small amount of butter, and browning in the oven.
- The meatloaf is normally served warm as part of the main course, but can also be found sliced as a cold cut. Meatloaf can also be considered a typical comfort food and is served in many diners and restaurants today.
- The Vietnamese meatloaf version is called giò. It's boiled rather than baked or smoked. There are many versions of giò that differ by the materials used.
See also 
- Salisbury steak
- Swiss steak
- Groaty pudding
- Red pudding
- Nutraloaf, type of food sometimes served in some US prisons
- Nut roast
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- Zeldes, Leah A. (2009-09-02). "Eat this! Meatloaf, easy comfort". Dining Chicago. Chicago's Restaurant & Entertainment Guide, Inc. Retrieved 2010-08-03. More than one of
- Meatloaf history in US
- Wolfgang's Bacon-Wrapped Meat Loaf
- Meatloaf with Bacon Strips
- за руло Стефани
- (Danish) Min far's forloren Hare, FÅS IKKE BEDRE
- (German) Omas Rezept für falscher Hase
- (Greek) Ρολό κιμά με γέμιση αυγά, καρότο, πιπεριά και μπέικον
- Stefánia meatloaf
- Samuel Cohen. המטבח היהודי של שמוליק כהן [Shmoolik Cohen's Jewish Cuisine] (in Hebrew). Modan. p. 82.