"Meatloaf has always been a comfort food standby, good to greet new mothers-in-law, or just to have some stick to your ribs dinner on a cold night. This recipe is the culmination of many old family recipes that i put together to create quite possibly the best meatloaf I've ever had. Normally I serve it as an openfaced sandwich to my guests on a thick slice of toasted french bread."
In a large bowl, combine ground beef, onions, bell pepper, garlic, herbs, catsup, olive oil, and eggs. using your hands, gently mix the ingredients. overmixing will create a tough and dense final product. Add in the bread crumbs, again being careful not to overmix. The final mixture should be moist and sticky, depending on the size of the eggs used, you may need to add more bread crumbs. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. To test the seasoning cook a small, quarter sized portion in a pan over medium heat with olive oil. when your satisfied with the seasoning, turn the entire contents of the bowl out onto a greased sheet pan. Form the mixture into a rectangular shape with slightly rounded ends. Wrap the loaf with the bacon across the narrowest point from one end to the other. This will ensure that when sliced for service each guest will get a slice of bacon with their serving. Place the finished loaf into the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the loaf reads 165 degrees F. Remove from the oven and let rest 5-10 minutes before slicing.
For the tomato gravy:
In a small sauce over medium-low heat, combine the catsup, stock, coriander, worstershire sauce, sugar, salt and pepper. Heat until steaming, but not boiling. Lower heat and whisk in the tomato paste to thicken. Contiune to simmer for another 3-5 minutes. check seasoning. Strain the coriander before service if desired. This is a thick gravy, if you wish it can be thinnned down with more beef stock. Vegetable stock can also be used.