Meatloaf is one of those foods that everyone has had a love/hate relationship with in their life. It changes drastically based on what part of the country you are in and everyone has their own way of making it or thoughts on how it should taste. Should it have brown gravy or red sauce? Do you put bacon on top? What do you mix in with it? What type of meat do you use? Even what sides to serve with it can be pretty heavily debated with no real clear winner.
I have tried many versions of meatloaf over the years and for the most part I have found them to be bland and dull or just down right nasty. This is especially true when eating out at a restaurant and you see meatloaf on the menu as the daily special. STAY AWAY!!! It doesn’t matter where it is, it is not going to be pretty.
My Mom’s meatloaf was my favorite when I was growing up. She mixed ground beef with onion and white bread chunks, a few seasonings and covered it in tomato sauce and added a layer of bacon across the top. That baked until the sauce started to caramelize around the sides of the baking pan. I loved it and could not get enough of it. Then I started getting older and eating out at more restaurants and trying food that other people cooked and found that my Mom’s meatloaf didn’t taste like anyone’s else. Most of these were a dense slab of undefinable flavorless meat and had a brown gravy on it, What the heck??? It was all madness in my mind. How could anyone eat this stuff? Well, to each their own but I couldn’t let that stand.
When I moved to Texas and started experimenting with some of the flavors of the southwest I started playing around with recipes that I grew up eating and changing them around to fit my new flavor palate. That’s where I came up with the idea for southwest meatloaf.
Now before you go any farther I will tell you that this does have jalapeno in it. WAIT!!! Don’t stop reading or roll your eyes and say “I can’t eat spicy”. While this recipe has a little tang to it, it is not spicy. And if it really bothers you then substitute bell peppers for the jalapenos. While you wont get quite the same effect it will still taste great.
Now that we have that out of the way, let me get started on showing you how to make my southwest meatloaf.
What you need before you get started; Sharp knife and cutting board, large mixing bowl, deep casserole dish, non stick cooking spray (canola or olive oil spray).
For the sauce.
16 oz jar of medium heat salsa
1 bottle BBQ sauce (Something sweet but spicy is good)
For the meatloaf
1 lb ground beef
1 Link Mexican chorizo (sausage) (I used Ole foods chorizo)
1 medium sweet onion (finely chopped)
3 large jalapeno peppers (seeded and finely chopped) (Or 1/2 cup of bell pepper for the less adventurous).
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
Lets get everything prepped and ready to cook.
Start with the sauce for the meatloaf. In a bowl mix the jar of salsa and the whole bottle of BBQ sauce together and set aside.
When I make this I like to use my own salsa recipe that you can find here on my site: https://castironandfire.com/2017/02/17/south-texas-hot-sauce-salsa/
I also use my homemade BBQ sauce but will take that recipe with me to the grave since I do plan to eventually sell it one day.
In a large mixing bowl add the ground beef, chorizo, onion, peppers, garlic, bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup of the bbq sauce and salsa mixture. Now dig in and mix it all thoroughly together. Once everything is mixed together spray the casserole dish with non stick spray and pack the meat mixture into it, making sure to leave about a half-inch groove around the edge. Now pour the remaining sauce mix over the top and spread it around evenly making sure plenty goes into the groove around the edges.
Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees and put the meatloaf in. You will want to bake it for about an hour and a half. Making sure the internal temp reaches at least 160 degrees.
When it’s done take the meatloaf out and cut into slices about an inch thick. That should give you nice hearty portion. You can pair this with whatever side you think fits best. For this one I did a side of nice thick steak fries. It’s also great with mashed potatoes, or mac and cheese.
All that is left is to put it all on plates and enjoy. I hope that this little mix of comfort food and southwest flavor is something you enjoy.
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