Mom's Meat Loaf Recipe From Portland Penny Diner

A blue-plate special done right

Vitaly Paley's third restaurant in his Portland, Oregon, lineup, Portland Penny Diner, pays homage to the vendors and lunch wagons that filled that city's streets during the 1800s. The casual diner offers creative classics with a modern bent, including a house-made bologna breakfast sandwich with coffee mayonnaise, and executive chef Ben Bettinger's "Mom's meat loaf," his reinterpretation of the comfort staple. Earthy chile powder, plenty of fresh basil and ground fennel seed give the loaf a modern boost without sacrificing its blue-plate-special roots. Mom would approve.

Recipe adapted from Ben Bettinger, Portland Penny Diner, Portland, OR

Mom's Meat Loaf
5 from 42 ratings
Meat loaf from Portland Penny Diner in Portland, OR
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total time: 1 hour
  • 1¾ pounds 80% lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork (preferably ground pork shoulder)
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped basil
  • 5 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
  • 5 tablespoons ketchup, divided
  • 1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1½ teaspoons ground fennel seed
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons Chimayó or sweet paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a wire rack with aluminum foil and set it over an aluminum-foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Use a sharp knife to poke ½-inch-long slits into the foil-lined rack and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the ground beef, ground pork, egg, basil, garlic, onion, breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons plus 1½ teaspoons ketchup, black pepper, mustard, fennel seed, onion powder, garlic powder, Chimayó and red pepper flakes. Stir the mixture together until it is uniformly combined, taking care not to overmix. Transfer the mixture to the foil-lined wire rack on the baking sheet and form into a 6- by-12-inch loaf, about 4 inches thick.
  3. In a small bowl, add the remaining 2 tablespoons plus 1½ teaspoons ketchup and the hot sauce and stir to combine. Use a pastry brush or a spoon to brush the glaze over the meat loaf, coating the entire top and sides of the loaf. Bake, rotating the baking sheet halfway through cooking, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reaches 150° to 155°, about 1 hour. Remove the meat loaf from the oven and rest for 5 minutes before slicing the meat loaf crosswise and serving.
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