Cook Time: 1 hr 30 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and finely diced
2 tomatoes, halved, seeded, and finely diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 (12-ounce) bottle ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into chunks by hand
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork
Leaves from 2 fresh thyme sprigs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 bacon slices
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat a skillet with a 2-count of oil and place over medium heat. Saute the onion, garlic, and bay leaves for a few minutes to create a base flavor. Throw in the red peppers and cook them for a couple of minutes to soften. Now add the tomatoes; adding them at this point lets them hold their shape and prevents them from disintegrating. Stir in the parsley, ketchup, and Worcestershire; season with salt and pepper. Simmer the relish for 5 minutes to pull all the flavors together. Remove it from the heat; you should have about 4 cups of relish.
Place the torn white bread in a bowl and add the milk to just barely cover, swish the bread around in the milk and let it sit while you get the rest of the ingredients for the meat loaf together.
This is where you get your hands dirty! In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef and pork with 1 1/2 cups of the tomato relish, the eggs, and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Squeeze the excess milk from the bread and add the soaked bread to the meat mixture. To test, fry a small "hamburger" patty of the meatloaf until cooked; the patty should hold together but still have a soft consistency. Taste the patty for seasoning.
Lightly oil a cookie sheet. Transfer the meat mixture to the center of the cookie sheet and form into a log about 9 inches long and about 4 inches wide. Coat the top of the meatloaf with another 1/2 cup of the tomato relish. Lay the bacon across the top lengthwise.
Bake the meatloaf for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the bacon is crisp and the meatloaf is firm. Rotate the meat loaf while it's baking every now and then to insure that the bacon browns evenly. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it cool a bit before slicing. Serve with the remaining tomato relish on the side. Unbelievably moist!