While I love a fancy restaurant meal every now and then, you’re more likely to find me in a neighborhood gastropub with a plate of juicy meatloaf or a bowl of hearty chili in front of me than at a budget-busting steakhouse. That’s because food is as much about comfort to me as it is about flavor and presentation, and when’s the last time you felt comfortable at a white linen restaurant?
This Chili Meatloaf takes two of my favorite comfort foods and combines them into one cozy dish. With all the flavors of a slow cooked chili con carne in a moist, tender meatloaf, it’s a sublimely satisfying meal that will leave you with a warm glow in your belly and a smile on your face.
The meatloaf itself uses a mix of pork and beef along with a ton of caramelized aromatics to achieve the depth of flavor of a chili that’s been simmering away for hours. Plenty of breadcrumbs and an egg help bind any wayward juices into the meatloaf so it stays moist and tender and the chili flavor comes from some concentrated tomato paste, chili powder and cumin.
For the glaze I used my homemade ketchup along with some cocoa powder, which gives it a marvelous earthy complexity that pairs well with the sweet ketchup and spicy chili powder.
Serve this on a bed of creamy grits and it’s like a blue-plate special of meatloaf and mashed potatoes hooked up with a bowl of chili and cornbread behind the local diner and made a love child. As with any meatloaf, one of the best parts is that the leftovers make awesome sandwiches!
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 12 ounces (340 grams, or about 2 small onions) onion, finely chopped
- 4.2 ounces (120 grams, or about 1 pepper) green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1.4 ounces (40 grams, or about 1/2 a rib) celery, finely chopped
- 0.25 ounces (7 grams or about 1 large clove) garlic, finely minced
- 21.2 ounces (600 grams) ground beef
- 5.6 ounces (160 grams) ground pork
- 1 cup panko
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- Put the oil, onions, bell peppers, celery and garlic in a frying pan over medium-high heat and cover with a lid. Let the vegetables steam for 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent and tender.
- Remove the lid and sauté until the vegetables are reduced to about 1/3 of their original volume and the onions are starting to caramelize. Take the pan off the heat and let the vegetables cool.
- In a large bowl, add the ground beef, ground pork, panko, egg, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and salt. When the vegetables are cool enough to touch add them to the meat mixture and knead together with your hand (you may want to wear gloves for this).
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 C).
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup and then shape the meat mixture into a loaf of even thickness on the foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Once the meatloaf is in the oven, mix the ketchup, cocoa powder, and chili powder in a small bowl.
- After the meatloaf has cooked for 30 minutes, remove it from the oven and top it with the glaze. Return it to the oven until an instant read thermometer reads 155 F (68 C), about another 20-30 minutes.
- Let the meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute.
- Serve with grits or mashed potatoes.
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.