Stovetop Mini Meatloaves and Japanese Slaw

I grew up eating my parents’ ideas of what American food was. This included a meatloaf that was loosely based on the Joy of Cooking recipe, but could contain all sorts of other things, including a lot of vegetables. Here’s my attempt to capture my Japanese and German roots in an American dish. And you cook them on a stovetop, so they are much faster to make that a big loaf.

Riviera Herbs and Yagenbori – Recipe by Christian Leue

Serves 6, with leftovers


The Meatloaves
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups of grated peeled carrot
1 1/2 cups of grated yellow onion
1 Tbsp Riviera Herbs
1/2 tsp salt or 2 tsp shio koji (shio koji will add a bit of sweetness and savoriness)
2 Tbsp unflavored gelatin
2 large eggs
2 pounds ground beef (I like to use a pound each of chuck and sirloin)
1.5-2 cups of breadcrumbs (I prefer panko or homemade)
Worcestershire sauce
Tonkatsu sauce

The Slaw
6 cups cabbage, very thinly sliced
2 cups carrot, very thinly sliced
Japanese mayonnaise
Autre Shichimi or Yagenbori or Espelette (to taste)


• In a large skillet over medium-high heat add the olive oil, grated carrot and onion, Riviera Herbs, and salt or shio koji. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are lightly browned and just starting to dry out, about 10-12 minutes. Remove to a large metal bowl to cool.

• Whip the gelatin and eggs together with a fresh grating of nutmeg (you can use a whisk or a blender or do it by hand).

• When the cooked vegetables are no longer hot to the touch, add the gelatin and egg mixture and stir well. Add about 2 tablespoons of worcestershire and/or Tonkatsu sauce. Add the ground beef and 1.5 cups of panko and mix well with a spoon, clean hands, or in a mixer with a dough hook. If the mixture seems too wet or sticky, add the remaining panko (it will depend on how much you cook the vegetables and on the moisture content of the meat).

• Test seasoning by shaping a small flat patty and frying it in a pan until cooked. Adjust the batch to your tastes with additional sauce, spice, sweetener, etc.

• Mix the slaw and allow to rest in the refrigerator. Adjust seasoning to taste and add some lemon juice if you like it more tart.

• Form the meatloaf mix into ovals the size of an egg (approximately 2 ounces each) and fry in batches in a lightly oiled pan with a lid. Cook covered for 8-9 minutes over medium heat, shaking the pan to roll them around occasionally so they cook on all sides. Then uncover, raise the heat a bit, and cook for 2-3 minutes more while continuing to shake.

Extra crispy version: coat the pan with 1/4″ layer of olive oil and put over high heat. Shallow fry the meatloaves, turning them to brown them evenly. Once you’ve browned all sides, cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutesshaking the pan occasionally to roll them around. Finish by heating uncovered to drive off any excess water (you may want to use a splatter screen.

• Serve with tonkatsu sauce and slaw.

• They can also be baked on a sheet tray if you’d like to cook them all at once. In this case rub them with tonkatsu sauce or ketchup, place on a parchment lined or greased baking sheet and bake at 375°F until done (about 15 minutes).

Fun to Try

• For a great sandwich using leftovers: slice a soft roll, toast it lightly, then fill with a few cold cooked meatloaves (cut them in half and they will fit together better), top with slaw and tonkatsu sauce.

• Gluten free? Try substituting the panko with instant mashed potatoes. We’ve done this a few times and it works great. Start with about 2/3 of a cup wetted with 1/2 cup warm water or stock, as they absorb much more moisture than breadcrumbs do.

• Play with the spices for an easy way to explore other flavors. Omit the spices, Worcestershire, and tonkatsu in the recipe above, and substitute as follows.

  • Add Tangier N23 and a handful of currant raisins to the cooking vegetables. For the mix substitute (half the beef) with ground lamb shoulder and season with pomegranate molasses and soy sauce, optionally add some pine nuts. Make the slaw with Shabazi N38, lemon, and mayonnaise.
  • Add Sri Lanka N14 to the cooking vegetables. Add minced fresh scallion, ginger, garlic, cilantro, a bit of brown sugar, and fish sauce to the mix. Make the slaw with lime juice, Japanese mayonnaise, and sambal oelek.
  • Add Pierre Poivre N7 and a few pats of butter to the cooking vegetables. For the mix season with salt and a few splashes of cognac. Roll the mini meatloaves in additional Pierre N7 to coat and cook in a steel sauté pan, uncovered, for 4-5 minutes. rolling the loaves around to sear all sides. Add a few healthy splashes of cognac to the pan, flame and reduce, then add heavy cream and cook for 6-7 minutes more, stirring gently until the sauce thickens. I prefer a warm slaw with this variant, try seasoning with OMG, honey, cider vinegar, and hot bacon fat.

Past April Recipes

2019 – Citronelle Cocktail

2018 – Spring Panzanella

2017 – Braised Lamb Shanks


Food images and recipe © Christian Leue

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