Mrs. Rockefeller's Meatloaf


Mrs. Rockefeller's Meatloaf
Michelle Rao
New York, New York
We found the original recipe for Mrs. Rockefeller’s highly seasoned meatloaf in a book called Meat by Leon Lobel (1978). The Lobel brothers run a family meat business in Manhattan, and as Leon noted, this recipe came from the wife of former Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller. We found it to be super-easy to make and very moist thanks tothe cottage cheese and sour cream included in the mix of ingredients. Michelle got the recipe from her mother, who claimed she got it from an old cookbook—likely Mr. Lobel’s, as many of the unique ingredients (including rye bread, curry powder, and onion soup mix) are found in both versions. Of course, Michelle’s mother did add some touches of her own, adding sage to the mix, while omitting others, like nutmeg and rosemary. In any event, we can understand why she says, “Everyone who eats it asks for the recipe.”
Serves 6 to 8
  • 1          cup sour cream
  • 2          slices rye bread, torn into large pieces and pulsed in a food processor to coarse crumbs
  • 1          cup cottage cheese
  • 2          large eggs
  • 1          envelope onion soup mix
  • 2          teaspoons steak sauce
  • 2          teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2          teaspoons chopped fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1          teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2       teaspoon curry powder
  • 1          pound 85 percent lean ground beef
  • 1          pound bulk pork sausage
  • 8          tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2          onions, minced
  • 1 1/2    cups chili sauce
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Following the photos on page 000 [see “Making a Meatloaf,” below], line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil, set a wire rack over the baking sheet, and place a 9 by 6-inch piece of foil in the center of the rack. Following the photos, use a skewer to poke holes in the foil at 1/2-inch intervals.
2. Stir the sour cream and bread crumbs together in a bowl. Whisk the cottage cheese, eggs, soup mix, steak sauce, mustard, sage, hot sauce, and curry powder together in a large bowl. Add the sour cream–bread mixture, beef, and sausage to the bowl. Mix with your hands until evenly blended and the meat mixture does not stick to the bowl.
3. Transfer the meat to the foil rectangle and, using wet hands, pat the mixture into a 9 by 6-inch loaf. Bake the meatloaf for 40 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.Stir in the chili sauce and cook until the flavors are blended, about 3 minutes.
5. Pour the sauce evenly over the meatloaf and continue to bake until the center registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 50 minutes to 1 hour longer. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Notes from the Test Kitchen
We were amazed by the long list of unusual ingredients in this recipe—from onion soup mix, rye bread, and soy sauce to curry powder and ginger. The recipe Michelle sent in (and the original version of Mrs. Rockefeller’s recipe) included two packages of onion soup mix. And while we liked the onion flavor, we had a hard time tasting anything else. We used one package of onion soup mix instead, while also reducing the number of other spices in the loaf, which resulted in a cleaner, richer flavor. We did, however, keep the essential ingredients that differentiate this loaf from a typical meatloaf, including curry, mustard, steak sauce, and rye bread. Finally, we cooked the meatloaf on a small piece of foil, arranged on a wire rack that was set over a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. This allowed the fat from the meatloaf to drip down into the baking sheet as it cooked, rather than pooling in a baking dish, resulting in a less greasy meatloaf.
Making a Meatloaf
1. Set a wire rack over a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and top with a 9 by 6-inch rectangle of foil. Using a skewer, poke holes in the foil about 1/2 inch apart to allow the fat to drain away.
2. Shape the mixture into a loaf covering the entirety of the prepared foil.


This content requires the latest Adobe Flash Player and a browser with JavaScript enabled. Click here for a free download of the latest Adobe Flash Player.