Quite the moist loaf, courtesy of the apples. You can peel the apples if you wish, I find that grating them on a box grater tends to leave a lot of the peel behind. Soft breadcrumbs are those from fresh, perhaps a day old, bread. Sandwich-type bread is best. Remove the crusts if they’re hard, or if the bread is really dense and heavy. You can make this in a loaf pan, or you can form this into a loaf shape and bake it on a baking sheet. There are meat loaf partisans who claim that loaf pans merely steam the loaf, whereas baking it ‘naked’, as it were, roasts the loaf, resulting in a richer flavor. I usually bake meat loaf ‘naked’.

2 medium-sized apples
1 1/2 lbs or so ground beef
1 1/2 c soft bread crumbs
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced, optional
1 t Worcestershire sauce; or hoisin sauce
2 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste

Topping: (optional)
1/3 c ketchup or salsa
2 T maple syrup or agave syrup

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. If baking the loaf ‘naked’ grease or line a rimmed baking pan with foil or parchment.

2. Peel apples if you wish. Halve, then quarter and core. Grate. Combine with ground beef, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, if using, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, salt, and pepper. Press in to a loaf pan or form into a loaf or round, if not using a loaf pan.

3. Combine ketchup and maple syrup, if you want the topping. Spoon over loaf.

4. Bake for about 1 1/4 hours, though check it at the hour mark.