If you don't see ground veal or ground pork at your grocer, ask the butcher to grind it for you. Choose ground beef that isn't too lean: 85 percent is a good bet. Many groceries carry "meatloaf mix" packages of ground beef, veal, and pork.
Heat the oven to 350°F. In a small skillet, heat the oil; add the onions and cook over medium heat until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another 1 to 2 minutes to soften. Set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients except the bacon, and add the cooled onion-garlic mixture. Mix with a rubber spatula or your hands just until the ingredients are combined. Don't overwork the meat.
Oil a rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan, turn the meat mixture out onto the pan, and shape it into a large loaf (I like mine to look like a slightly oval loaf of bread). Or divide the mixture into four equal portions (about 6 oz. each) and shape each portion into an individual meatloaf. Wrap strips of bacon around the shaped loaf, tucking the ends under the loaf.
Bake the meatloaf until an instant-read thermometer registers 160°F, 50 to 60 minutes for a large loaf, or 25 to 35 minutes for smaller loaves. Before slicing, let the meatloaf rest for 10 to 15 minutes to allow some carryover cooking and to let the juices redistribute. To serve, slice and spoon some of the pan juices over the slices, if you like.
For a little extra color, sauté 1 cup diced red, green, and yellow bell peppers along with the onions and garlic; when cool, fold them into the rest of the mixture.
The simple addition of 1/4 cup shredded basil and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese will offer another level of flavor, or you could add a tablespoon of a favorite fresh herb, such as thyme or rosemary.
nutrition information (per serving):
based on six servings;
sat fat g
Photo: Scott Phillips