March 27, 2008

Southwestern Meatloaf




Ingredients:
for the meatloaf:
1 lb lean ground beef
15 oz canned black beans, drained
10 oz diced tomatoes with green chile, drained
1/4 cup bread crumbs or panko
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 clove garlic minced
1 small onion, minced
1 egg
salt
pepper

for the topping:
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Mix the topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Place all of the meatloaf ingredients and mix together by hand to evenly distribute. If the mixture looks very wet, add some additional bread crumbs. The mixture should be able to be easily shaped into a mound and not fall apart. Place in a standard loaf pan or meatloaf pan*, pressing firmly to pack it in and then smooth out the top. Evenly spread the topping over the meatloaf to cover. Bake 40-50 minutes or until cooked through. Allow to sit 2-5 minutes before cutting. Serve hot.




*I love my meatloaf pan. It allows all of the extra fat to drain out of the meatloaf while allowing the meatloaf to remain moist. Totally worth getting even if you only eat meatloaf once a year.




My thoughts:

People are always asking how I come up with so many different recipes each week. For me deciding what to make is generally is a combination of necessity (hey, that bok choy is looking a little limp!), satisfying a craving and bringing to fruition a vague food related thought I had. If I want to make something that is "postable" I try to think of either something I've never made and/or posted before or a new variation of an old favorite (think new flavor of cupcake). I then head to the kitchen and get started, taking notes as I go.

While I like to make the distinction that I cook for me but I write for an audience, i.e. I don't make things I don't want to eat just to have something to post but I do write the recipes so people can recreate them at home and I take note of what recipes are reader favorites and what foods I thought were great but maybe didn't go over as well. I might make them or some variation again but if no one is interested in say, gravy, I might not post another recipe for it unless it was particularly good. Of course, sometimes it is hard to tell when something is going to be a hit. Occasionally I make something that I personally enjoyed but that I am not sure if other people would be interested in (the no bake peanut butter oatmeal cookies comes to mind) and then it goes on to be a top ranking post and I get literally hundreds of people sending me emails thanking me for the recipe, many of whom told me how they made the cookies the same day I posted the recipe. So you never know.

In this case, I had a pound of ground beef that needed to be cooked immediately or it would spoil. I had the idea for a Southwestern style meatloaf back when I made the tamale pie but never got around to making it. After figuring out what I am going to make, the next step is to work out the details and avoid any potential problems. Meatloaf is pretty straightforward but there is always something to worry about when developing a new recipe. My issue this time was that I only had a pound of meat. That would make for a pretty skimpy meatloaf. Solution: I decided to add the beans, which fit into the Southwestern theme and added some much needed volume. Then I decided what spices to use, how to keep the moisture in the meatloaf (I loathe ketchup, the go-to coating for meatloaf) and decided on a combination of spices and tomato paste that not only kept things moist but really accented the flavors of the tomatoes and chiles inside. I formed the loaf, baked it and then tried to get halfway decent photographs of it before it got cold. Which wasn't easy, it was dark out and meatloaf isn't particularly photogenic. And there you go, a new recipe and dinner all in one.

9 comments:

  1. This looks so good -- too bad I will never have an opportunity to make it!

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  2. Hey - that looks good AND healthy. Bonus!

    I wish I could come up with my own recipes. There are just so many good ones already out there. I always cook by recipes and very rarely throw things together - let alone a meatloaf!

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  3. Those are actually beautiful photographs of meatloaf. I'm impressed.
    I love your creativity in the kitchen and the recipes that it inspires. Keep it up!

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  4. normally i'm not too keen on meatloaf, but when you throw in black beans and chiles, it becomes mighty tempting! excellent recipe! :)

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  5. This looks much better than meatloaf in a bag.

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  6. Oh and it is weird since I looked at that meatloaf pan today and decided to leave it at the store. Now I might just have to go back to get it!

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  7. I made this last night, and it was awesome! Thanks for the fantastic recipe...

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  8. I am not usually a meatloaf fan, but this looks amazing! I like your description of how you cook too! I do the same thing.

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  9. I just made this: awesome! Love meatloaf and this was a different spin. I used 1/2 amount of bean and added 1/2 can of canned corn. Also used parsley instead of thyme. Really like the way it turned out. Thank you! You have a great blog!

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