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Sokolowski’s Classic Meatloaf

Recipes, Entree

Sokolowski’s University Inn in Cleveland closed in 2020, but the place was known for Polish and Eastern European comfort food at its best — pierogi and kielbasa, chicken paprikash and cabbage and noodles. “My mother said our Salisbury steak put three children through college,” Mike Sokolowski told us. “But I have also had local chefs go crazy for my meatloaf. They could never figure out where the smoky taste came from. When I would share my recipe and tell them that I include bacon, they would roll their eyes in dumbfounded amazement.”

Sokolowski’s Classic Meatloaf
 | Makes 6-8 servings
Recipe courtesy of Sokolowski’s University Inn

1 pound ground beef 
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
3 to 4 ribs of celery, diced small
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 pound thick-sliced bacon
3 eggs, beaten 
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon pepper
2 ounces Worcestershire sauce
2 cups unseasoned breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup of your favorite ketchup-based topping (see prep note at end) 
Food-release spray, such as Pam

In a small frying pan, combine diced celery, diced onion, 4 to 5 slices of diced bacon and butter. Saute until vegetables are soft and bacon is cooked (about 15 minutes). Allow to cool. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked vegetable mixture with meat, eggs, salt, garlic, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and breadcrumbs. Mix thoroughly by hand until ingredients are combined. Spray a flat tray with Pam and form your meatloaf into a football shape. 

Spray foil with Pam and cover the meatloaf. Bake for 45 minutes in a 350 F oven. 

Remove from oven and take foil cover off meatloaf. Add your favorite ketchup-based topping and continue to bake for an additional 15–20 minutes. (Optional: add the remaining slices of bacon to the top of meatloaf at the beginning of the baking time.) 

Preparation Note: You can always top your meatloaf with a simple slathering of ketchup, but Mike Sokolowski suggests improvising: Add in a little A1 Steak Sauce, teriyaki sauce and Worcestershire sauce, and then adjust according to taste. You can even mix in some orange sauce for a sweet-tang kick.