Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Easy Mexican Style Meatloaf & Sauteed Baby Kale w/ Pancetta

Today was the most gorgeous first full day of Autumn! It was 55 this morning and cool, brisk and breezy. The sky even looked like fall. It was an amazingly beautiful day. I'm currently working on a new recipe project so I wanted to make something super easy but good for dinner. I had a couple packages of organic ground beef in the fridge as well as a big bag of fresh baby kale. I stopped by the store on my way home and picked us some pancetta (also referred to as Italian bacon). I decided to prepare a Mexican style meatloaf and Sauteed Baby Kale w/ Pancetta. Both require minimum prep time and they basically cook themselves. 

I mixed 2.5 pounds of ground beef with 1 cup of fresh salsa and about 1 cup of diced Cabot pepper jack cheese. I added about 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, about 3/4 teaspoon each of roasted ground cumin and smoked paprika and a scant 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper. I mixed it together and put it in my oval Le Creuset casserole dish and popped it into a 375 degree F oven to bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes. While the meatloaf cooked, I sauteed a few ounces of diced pancetta in a nonstick skillet without any oil because the fat rendered as it sauteed. Once the pancetta was browned, I put several large handfuls of baby kale into the skillet and piled it high (about 3/4 pound which was half of my 1.5 pound bag). I covered the skillet cooked it for about 5 minutes (without adding any liquid) and seasoned it with freshly ground black pepper. We sprinkled a little apple cider vinegar on our kale at the table while eating it. It was delicious. 

Rather than use breading as a filler or binder for the meatloaf, I have found that adding shredded or diced cheese not only serves as a binder as it melts while baking, but keeps the meatloaf super moist. The salsa adds flavor and additional moistness. Because I use fresh salsa with onions, peppers and tomatoes in it, I didn't need to add additional diced onion and peppers to my meatloaf since the salsa contained both. You can make this meatloaf on a smaller scale if you want or substitute ground chicken or turkey if you prefer (Chris) and there is no magical amount of salsa or cheese or seasoning...just add what you like. If you haven't ever tried using cheese in place of breading as your meatloaf binder...try it, you'll like it! I snapped a couple photos below. Enjoy!

Ready to bake
Pancetta added to skillet to brown and render its fat
Browned and ready for the baby kale
Baby kale has been piled high in the skillet and will cook covered for 5 minutes



Candace @ Cabot said...

Your meatloaf looks and sound amazing! Can't wait to try it.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks so much Candace...I hope you enjoy it! :-)

stacy said...

I tried the meatloaf and the roasted cauliflower, loved it and so did my family!
Question, your biscuits, rolls, hamburger buns....do they freeze well? I would like to make several and freeze them to pull out fast.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Stacy,

So glad you enjoyed the meatloaf and roasted cauliflower! I have frozen my biscuits before and they do well. While I haven't frozen the rolls or buns yet, others I know have and say the do well. I believe wrapping them individually is probably best. I've actually wrapped my biscuits in parchment paper (separately) and then placed them in a larger freezer Ziploc bag. :-)