Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Smoky Meatloaf

I don't know what the weather is like where you live, but around here, it seemed to go from SUMMER! to FALL! within the span of 24 hours. Last week it was in the '80s, and this week it's in the '60s. It's got me craving comfort food in a major way -- and does it get any more comforting than meatloaf? Not in my book!

I love making meatloaf for lots of reasons, not the least of which is because of the name my boys have for it. They call meatloaf "sauce cake". I think it's pretty much the most fantastic thing in the world; who doesn't want to have sauce cake for dinner? Sauce cake (as it will ever be known in our house) happens to be one of their favorite meals, too.

As much as we love traditional meatloaf, sometimes I get the hankering to make a different version. This one, inspired by a Paleo meatloaf recipe I found, has all of my favorite smoky/roasted ingredients in it: roasted garlic, roasted red pepper, fire-roasted tomatoes, smoked cheddar cheese, and bacon. It's topped with a smoky chipotle ketchup. Honestly, it couldn't have been any more delicious -- and the leftovers made for the most delicious meatloaf sandwiches ever. I highly, highly encourage you to give this sauce cake a try.

Smoky Meatloaf
inspired by Civilized Caveman Cooking

1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1 small onion
1 14-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 roasted red pepper*, peeled and chopped
1 head roasted garlic**, pasted
1/2 cup shredded smoked cheddar cheese
2 eggs
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons chipotle in adobo puree***
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp; remove to paper towels to drain. 

2. Add the ground beef and the bacon to a large bowl. Using a small grater, grate the onion into the meat mixture. Add the tomatoes, roasted red pepper, roasted garlic, cheese, eggs, oats, paprika, salt and pepper and gently mix just until combined. Shape into a loaf and place on a cookie sheet or in a 9x13 casserole dish. Bake for 40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

3. Stir together the ketchup, chipotle in adobo puree, and Worcestershire sauce. Brush onto meatloaf and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

*I don't have a gas stove, so I roast my peppers under the broiler. To roast your own red bell pepper, turn the broiler to high and place the pepper on a cookie sheet. Leave the oven door ajar so you can keep an eye on the pepper, turning it after each side is blackened. Place it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam the skin loose, then peel it and remove the seeds. I like to leave a little bit of the char on it for flavor. The peppers will keep in an airtight container for a week in the fridge, topped with a little bit of olive oil.

**To roast garlic, cut the top off of a head, leaving the bulb intact. Place on a sheet of foil, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then roll up the foil. Cook in a 350 degree oven until your house smells amazing (about 1 hour). Squeeze the bulb to release the cloves and mash the garlic.

***When I buy a can of chipotles in adobo, I puree the entire can when I open it. Then I place the puree in a plastic baggie, roll it into a log shape, and freeze it. Then I use a grater to grate the frozen mixture when I need it for a recipe. You can also freeze the puree in ice cube trays, but the plastic baggie works just fine for me.

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