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|