Mexican-Inspired Meatloaf

Forq works with a well known flavor theme and encourages you to make this meatloaf as spicy as you like; salsa and homemade guacamole always pair well.

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Serves: 4 • Prep Time: 20 minutes • Cook Time: 35 mins

Straight from the Forq Kitchen!
by Daniela Bowker


Mexican Inspired Meatloaf

Forq explores Mexican flavors in an unusual twist on your basic meatloaf recipe

This meatloaf recipe is inspired by Mexican flavors that can in no way claim to be authentically Mexican, or even Tex-Mex in origin. But so often that’s what recipes are: a variation on a well-known theme. Here, I took my delicioulsy ordinary basic meatloaf recipe and tweaked it to encompass the ingredients in my chili con carne. When serving it with guacamole and salsa, the meatloaf took a recognisable step closer to fajitas, and therefore to food that we associate as being ‘Mexican’. In fact, if you wanted to serve this with refried beans and a dollop of soured cream, it may be a cliche, but it works really well as rescues Meatloaf itself from being predictable.

For convenience’s sake, opt for store-bought salsa and guacamole to accompany your meatloaf rather than making them yourself, though they’re very simple to throw together. And if you do cook them at home, they come with an obvious advantage: you can adjust the seasonings to your own preferences. This means that you make them as garlicky or as chili-y as you like, and neither will they be rammed with salt and sugar.

If that sounds too simple to be good, it’s super simple and super good!

When I decided that I wanted to try to a Mexican-inspired meatloaf, I did toy with the idea of using crushed tortilla chips as the bulking agent, as opposed to the more regular breadcrumbs. However, I don’t especially like commercial tortilla chips as I find them excessively salty, which deterred me from testing the idea. To be honest, I wasn’t convinced that the recipe demanded their inclusion for the sake of Mexicana. So I stuck with breadcrumbs. If you are of the tortilla chip-eating persuasion, though, I don’t see why you might not want to try it, so long as they are well pulverized for inclusion.

As for the cheese being optional in this meatloaf, it really is. My brother prefers this meatloaf with cheese; I prefer it without. See which one works best for you.

Now, when I make chili con carne, I don’t use carrots, celery, or red peppers in the base although I know many people do. As a consequence, I chose not to include them in my meatloaf mix, either. But, they would go a long way to helping you get vegetables into more picky eaters and to bulking out the meat even further if you need to stretch it for economy. So, if you wanted to increase the vegetable count, use one or two small carrots, a rib of celery, and a single red pepper, chopped very fine. Fry them off before adding them to the meatloaf mixture, too, as they might not cook all the way through in the oven.

That’s plenty of meatloaf pre-amble, on with the meatloaf cooking!

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Directions

Here’s how to make this delicious meatloaf recipe

Pre-heat your oven to 170º Celsius (340º Fahrenheit).

Make breadcrumbs, if you don’t already have a stash in your pantry. Lightly toast the bread and then crumble it in a food processor.

In a large bowl, combine all of the meatloaf ingredients and mix together thoroughly. Hands are best for this, but seeing as it includes both chili and paprika, please be careful. If you do it using bare hands, wash them very well both before and after plunging them into the meatloaf mixture, and definitely before going anywhere near your eyes. You might want to try a pair of disposable gloves!

Oil a one-pound loaf tin and press the meatloaf mixture into the tin. Place it in the oven for about 35 minutes, or until the meatloaf is cooked. You can tell it’s done because the top will be browned and it will be pulling away from the sides of the tin.

While the meatloaf is in the oven, you can make the condiments. The salsa really is as easy as peeling and chopping the tomatoes finely and then mixing them with all of the other ingredients. Taste-test it to adjust the flavours and make sure that it is spicy enough for you. If you’ve never skinned tomatoes before, score a cross on their base and then cover them with boiling water. Leave them submerged for a minute or two before fishing them out using a slotted spoon. The skins should just slip off!

As for the guacamole, mash the avocados into a bowl with the garlic and lime juice and mix well. That’s it. If that sounds too simple to be good, it’s super simple and super good.

When the meatloaf has cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it to stand for ten minutes before turning it out onto a serving plate. Slice it up and dollop the salsa and guacamole beside it, as well as some rice. You can add soured cream and refried beans, too, if you fancy.

This meatloaf recipe serves four people generously at the table, but depending on how hungry you are, there might not be left-overs. But meatloaf is nothing if not an easily scalable recipe!

Ingredients

  • 500g (1 lb) ground steak or minced beef, or a mixture of ground steak and minced pork – the highest quality that you can afford is preferable, and a higher rather than lower fat content is better, too
  • 2 slices of bread – in the interests of economy, you can always use the crust slices of a loaf or any bread that has gone stale
  • 1 medium-sized onion, minced – either chop it finely by hand or blitz it in a food processor
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato purée
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • Half teaspoon of ground cumin
  • Half teaspoon of paprika
  • Quarter teaspoon dried chilli flakes – adjust this if you like things very spicy or not so spicy
  • 75g (3 oz) grated cheese – a sharp cheddar or a pepper jack (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Chilli to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 avocados
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, crushed – adjust the number depending on how badly you need to fend off vampires
  • Juice of half a lime

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Who’s Cooking Today

Daniela Bowker

Daniela Bowker allegedly lives in the UK and supposedly writes for a living. She definitely travels and eats food for fun. She’s tried a sweet bean stew in a backstreet eatery Hong Kong, pad thai on a street corner in Bangkok, and had meroavi Yerushelami at the market in Jerusalem, not to mention reindeer in Norway, caponata in Sicily, and tagine in Morocco.

She often manages to work food analogies into her everyday writing, so do be on the look out for likening self­portraits to lasagne and multiplicitous images to cakes over on Photocritic. You can follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram, and on Flickr, too.

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