Seasonal cooking needn't be excluded from your meatloaf-making endeavors, and my favorite ingredient that comes this time of year is grown by our neighbors in New Mexico: the green chile, namely those from Hatch.
To implement Hatch chiles in a way that's not only delicious but interesting, I decided to stuff the meatloaf with them. The easy thing to do would've been to simply make basic green chile sauce and mix into the meat, reserving enough to convert into a sweet-and-spicy glaze. But the easy way is, well, the easy way.
Plus, I like hot Hatch chiles, which necessitates ingredients to balance the fire for which these exquisite peppers are known.
The solution was to form two 1½ pound loaves, flatten them out and top the bottom half with whole roasted, skinned and seeded chiles and slices of queso blanco. Once the cheese and chiles are properly aligned, I put the two mini-loaves together and crimped the edges.
To further keep the Hatch conflagration at bay, I mixed some finished green chile sauce with Mexican table cream and a little chicken stock for the finishing sauce. Serve it with fresh calabacitas, a saute of squash, onions and corn in butter, and pinto beans for a truly New Mexican meal.
Makes 8 servings.
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce with onions
3 ounces pepperoni slices
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
• Blend together beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, oregano, garlic salt, cayenne and ½ can of the tomato sauce; mix throughly. Pat meat mixture into a 16-inch by 10-inch rectangle on parchment paper.
• Arrange pepperoni slices in five rows on meat, leaving a small margin on all sides. Sprinkle cheese over pepperoni.
• Roll up meat, jellyroll fashion, lifting roll with parchment. Seal ends and edge by pressing meat together. Place seam side down on shallow baking pan.
• Bake one hour.
• Top with remaining tomato sauce and bake 10 minutes more.
1½ pounds ground pork
10 to 12 roasted, peeled and seeded hot green chiles, divided
8 thin slices of queso blanco or queso Chihuahua
½ white onions, chopped fine
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water or chicken stock
1 cup Mexican Crema Fresca or ¾ heavy cream plus ¼ cup water
½ cup panko crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
• Set aside 5 or 6 of the most uniform chiles to stuff the meatloaf. Fine dice the remaining chiles and set aside.
• Heat a regular skillet to medium heat and add the oil. Allow to warm one minute, then add them onions. Stir until onions are coated, then spread them and let them sweat 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sweat another five minutes. Add the diced chiles and any residual chile liquid plus 1 cup water or chicken stock. Bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper and reduce heat to low. After 10 minutes, remove a ¼ cup and let cool. Let remaining sauce continue to simmer, adding stock or water as it becomes dehydrated.
• Combine the pork, beef, eggs and breadcrumbs. If you want to really integrate the beef and pork, you may combine them in a food processor and blend. Add 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper plus the ¼ cup of green chile sauce you've cooled.
• Divide into two equal-sized loaves and flatten to approximately 1½ inches thick. Cover a baking sheet with raised edges with foil and place one of the loaves on it. Butterfly the chiles and spread them across the loaf on the foil. Top the chiles with cheese slices. Top with the other loaf and crimp the edges to keep the cheese inside.
• Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
• While the meatloaf is cooking, add cream to green chile sauce and simmer about 5 minutes and remove from heat. When the meatloaf comes out of the oven, let it cool while you reheat the green chile cream sauce.
• You can either cover the meatloaf in green chile cream or serve it on the side to protect each for leftovers.
Meatloaf Madness is a monthly feature in which readers submit recipes for consideration to run with a recipe developed by The Food Dude.