The Dream Loaf
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, 1 1/4 cups finely chopped onions, 1 med red bell pepper finely chopped (about 1 cup), 1/4 cup sliced green onion, 2 garlic cloves minced, 2 eggs beaten, 1/3 cup canned beef broth, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (preferably Trappey’s Red Devil), 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 pound ground beef, 1/2 pound ground pork, 1/2 pound ground veal, 4 ounces Monterey jack cheese grated (about 1 cup), 3/4 cup Saltine cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup ketchup, 5 slices of thick-cut bacon halved crosswise
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. When it foams, add the onions, bell pepper, green onion and garlic. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring often, for another 4 to 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are lightly browned. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, pepper sauce and soy sauce until well blended. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, pork and veal with the onion mixture, the egg mixture, cheese and cracker crumbs. Mix lightly but thoroughly. Transfer the meat mixture to a shallow baking dish and shape it into a loaf about 3 inches thick; smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Spread the ketchup evenly over the loaf. Arrange the bacon strips atop the ketchup, overlapping them slightly if necessary.
Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until an instant-reading thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers 160 degree F. Let the loaf stand on a rack for 10 minutes before slicing.