A Mexican Meatloaf Monstrosity for my Valentine

Mexican Meatloaf Monstrosity? I couldn't think of better words to describe the dish I made for my special someone on Valentine's Day. I supposed I could have gone with a predictable romantic Italian pasta or seafood or fillet mignon; but once I got this idea in my head I just couldn't resist.

I just finished writing an article for the Co-op newsletter about our beef vendor, Black Earth Meat Market. In the article I contrasted this local ground beef with the industrial beef that's recalled all too often by the USDA. Industrial ground beef combines meat from slaughterhouses in a plethora of states and countries and generally contains the meat of hundreds of animals. This ground beef is made with the meat of one cow, and it can be easily traced...... just one of the reasons I love local meat!

I pulled these Poblano peppers from the freezer. They were part of what we picked at The Tree Farm and roasted on the grill way back in September.

Salsa Verde also from the freezer. The tomatillos were from The Tree Farm just like the peppers. This is the only bag I had..... next year I'll have to make way more of this stuff to freeze. It's really good!

The poblanos were a little soggy, but perfect for the meatloaf.

I chopped them up with an onion and added them to the meat.

Next came some breadcrumbs, two of my chicken's eggs, and spices. I didn't spice it too much since I wanted the poblano and tomatillo flavor to take center stage. A little chili powder, salt, and garlic powder was all it needed.

I mixed it lightly with my hands and ended up with this pretty "dough".

Now things get a little crazy. I decided to cook it in my bundt pan, layered with Chihuahua cheese. Meat on the bottom, then a layer of cheese, then meat on top and into the oven it went.

While it cooked I prepared a simple cabbage salad. This is one of my favorite salads of the winter so far. I used the last of this Napa cabbage that I've been slowly savoring for about a month. There aren't any more of these available at the Co-op, and I can't make it to market because of my work schedule. Napa is such a nice soft cabbage.... it will be missed!

Super simple did the trick. Napa, lime juice, sunflower oil, salt, and a touch of chili powder. Wow it was good!

I also whipped up some lovely mashed potatoes using red potatoes, milk, and a hint of garlic powder.

When the meat was close to done, I pulled it out......

.....plopped it on a cookie sheet, and I went to town with the mashed potatoes. the meatloaf fell apart a little bit when it came out of the pan, but it didn't matter so much with what I had in mind. I stuffed the middle with potatoes, and then bolstered the meat with a ring of mashers around the outside.

Next came the salsa verde. I don't remember exactly what I put in it way back in September- tomatillos and lime juice mostly. I must have used bottled lime juice - you could taste the stale flavor. I added a little fresh lime juice to brighten it up. Next year I'll take the time to squeeze fresh limes when I freeze my green sauce......

Last but not least, I covered the whole thing with more cheese and slid it back in the oven to finish baking.

OK, so maybe this isn't the most beautiful entree - it is called a Mexican Meatloaf Monstrosity after all.

Here's a cross-section of the finished product. Meat, cheese, potatoes, peppers, onions, tomatillos. It just doesn't get better than that.

The salad was a really nice texture and flavor compliment. It's such a shame the colors were so white and bland looking - the flavors were anything but......

Mexican Meatloaf Monstrosity

2 lb Ground Beef
3 or 4 Poblano Peppers, frozen, canned, or fresh
1 Onion
2 Eggs
1 Cup Breadcrumbs
Chili Powder
Garlic Powder
Shredded Chihuahua cheese
5 or 6 cups Mashed Potatoes
5 or 6 cups Salsa Verde (tomatillos pureed with lime juice, salt, and whatever flavorings you like)

Chop peppers and onion. Mix the peppers, onion, beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, and spices lightly with your fingertips. Put 1/2 of the meat mixture in a bundt pan. Layer some cheese on top, and then the rest of the meat. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. When meat is mostly cooked, flip the loaf out of the pan onto a large cookie sheet. Place mashed potatoes in the middle and around the outside of the meat. Top with salsa verde and lots of cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes more, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Simple Mexican Slaw

1 large Napa Cabbage
Sunflower Oil
Juice of 1 or 2 Limes
Chili Powder

Cut the cabbage into small chunks or ribbons. Dress with oil, lime juice, and spices. Don't get too crazy with the chili powder. A little goes a long way!

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