Recipe: Mexican Meatloaf or Pastel de Carne
by Victoria Challancin
Meatloaf spells comfort in any language. In fact, in 2009, my most-requested recipe from my cooking classes was for a Moroccan-Style Meatloaf. Today's version, one from my class archives, is purely Mexican, rich with the flavors of chorizo, roasted peppers, and sour cream. Easy to make; easier to eat.
This dish is called pastel de carne in Spanish, which translates as "meat cake." Sounds funny to non-native Spanish speakers, perhaps, but it is a popular dish throughout Mexico, with countless versions springing from just about every cook's own kitchen. It hardly needs a recipe, but this one, which I have used for years, is a perfect base from which to improvise.
Sometimes I serve this as a proper meatloaf accompanied with Roasted Poblano Pepper Mashed Potatoes to add to the comfort level.
If you don't have time to prepare the roasted-tomato salsa, simply substitute one of the many good commercially available salsas in a jar.
Cook's Note: If you want a finer consistency, simply massage the meat for about five minutes as you incorporate the ingredients.
(Recipe by Victoria Challancin)
Makes 1 large meatloaf or 2 small meatloaves or 12 servings
Meatloaf:1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup finely chopped scallions, white and green parts
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
3 eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup Mexican-style sour cream or crème fraîche
2 pounds 2 ounces lean ground beef
12 ounces soft Mexican chorizo, removed from casing and crumbled
1 poblano chile, roasted, peeled, and diced
3/4 cup dried bread crumbs
6 medium plum tomatoes, cored
1/4 medium white onion
3 garlic cloves
1 to 3 serrano chiles or 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 cup roasted-tomato salsa (above)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Melt butter in a heavy skillet and add olive oil. When hot, add onion, scallions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring often until vegetables are soft and somewhat dry, about 10 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
In a large bowl combine sautéed vegetables, ground beef, chorizo, and chopped, roasted poblano chile.
In a medium bowl, mix salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, allspice, and eggs. Add ketchup, and sour cream. Mix well with a fork and pour on top of the mixed meats. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Mix thoroughly, massaging the meat for 3 or 4 minutes. Form the mixture into two oval loaves, 9 by 4 1/2 by 2-inches. You can also shape the meat into one large meatloaf, but it is more difficult to handle.
Place loaves in a baking dish or roasting pan. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until meat is cooked throughout but still moist. Remove from oven. Carefully pour off any accumulated juices in the pan.
Meanwhile, line a heavy skillet with aluminum foil (the use of foil makes for an easy cleanup, but isn't necessary). Heat pan over medium heat. Add whole tomatoes, onion, unpeeled garlic cloves, and serrano chiles. Cook, turning frequently, until lightly charred on all sides. Peel the garlic cloves. Place all roasted ingredients in blender. Purée using pulses to have a chunky consistency. Set aside.
Mix the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl. Baste the meatloaf with the glaze mixture. Return to oven and bake for an additional 8 to10 minutes. Let meatloaf rest 10 minutes before slicing.