Have I mentioned lately how much I love the Create Your Own feature from Fine Cooking? I loving playing around with different flavors to either accommodate what I have in the fridge or to create something unique without straying too far from a formula that works. I've made two meatloaf recipes based on their meatloaf feature, a fantastic bacon-wrapped fennel-turkey meatloaf and this delicious southwest version that I made with my mom. It features bell peppers, cilantro, cumin, and an incredible chipotle-ketchup glaze. I like that it's got enough of that familiar meatloaf flavor to feel like comfort food, but with a spicy twist. You can add more or less red pepper flakes to dial up or down the spiciness - the amount here makes a fairly spicy meatloaf along with the glaze, which we really liked. Plus, like most meatloaf, this one is even better the next day, made into a meatloaf sandwich!
Southwestern Meatloaf (adapted from Fine Cooking)
1 T canola oil
1 very small onion or 1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup diced bell pepper
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup plus 2 T dry sherry
2 ounces white Italian or French bread, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup whole milk
1 pound ground beef
3 T thinly sliced scallions
1 T chopped fresh cilantro
1 T chopped fresh oregano
1-1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
A few grinds of pepper
1 T ketchup
1-1/2 tsp finely diced canned chipotles in adobo
1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the onions, peppers, and garlic, stirring frequently, until softened and just beginning to brown, 6-8 minutes.
2. Add the sherry and simmer briskly until almost dry, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly.
3. In a shallow dish, soak the bread in the milk, flipping once, until soggy but not falling apart, 5-10 minutes. Lightly squeeze to remove some of the milk, finely chop, and add to the onion mixture.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment.
5. Combine the beef, egg, and onion mixture in a medium bowl. Gently stir to just combine. Add the scallions, cilantro, oregano, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, and red pepper flakes to the bowl, and then sprinkle over the salt and pepper. Gently mix everything together until just combined, being careful not to compact the meat.
6. Form the meat mixture into a loaf on the baking sheet. Spread the glaze all over the top and sides in a thin layer.
7. Bake until an instant read thermometer registers 160 degrees in the center of the meatloaf, 30-40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes out of the oven, tented with foil, and then slice and serve.