If there's one comfort food that both Americans and Filipinos can identify with, it's meatloaf. I have some fond memories from my childhood of stabbing a piece of my mother's meatloaf with my fork, dipping it in some ketchup, and then plunging the tomato-clad meat into my mouth, followed by a forkful of steamed rice.
Oh yes, we Filipinos loves us some meatloaf--or more specifically, Filipino Meatloaf known as Embutido.
What makes Embutido different from regular ol' meatloaf?
Well firstly, instead of being baked in a loaf pan like meatloaf, Embutido is usually rolled into a log shape in cheese cloth or foil and then baked or steamed. I've read that Embutido is cooked in this way because in its original form (a long, long time ago) Embutido was nothing more than ground meat stuffed into big hog casings--much like a giant sausage (hence the current practice of rolling it in cheese cloth or foil).
Embutido also sets itself apart from regular ol' meatloaf in that Embutido is usually stuffed with whole hard boiled eggs and whole hotdogs!
Yes, hot dogs. Or if you're really lucky, Vienna Sausages.
I'm sure there are some of you out there scratching your domes over the thought of a meatloaf studded with whole eggs and wieners. In fact, when serving Filipino Meatloaf to someone who's never had it before, they are likely to say something like:
"Why, there's whole eggs and wieners in this meatloaf! Either this is some sort of cruel joke or [takes bite of Embutido] this is the awesomest meatloaf known to man!"
Indeed, Embutido is the awesomest meatloaf known to man.
Not only does the filling of wieners and eggs make for a striking presentation when the Embutido is sliced, but wieners and eggs taste good too. Mmmm, wieners and eggs.
If you couldn't already tell from the pictures in this post, I did not include any hot dogs or Vienna Sausages in my Embutido. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy wiener-stuffed meat as much as the next guy (culinary speaking of course). But on account of the wife's current condition, I kept any and all wieners out of my loaf since processed nitrate-laden meats are supposedly bad for pregnant women (the shame!). Under less fertile circumstances, I definitely would have rolled with Vienna Sausages.
As a kid, I also remember having Embutido at parties in which it was studded with raisins. I remember my mother putting raisins in her meatloaf too, but over time, those additions disappeared altogether--mostly because my brothers and I hate raisins, but also possibly because my mother was getting lazy in the kitchen... I never know what she's doing back there.
Ah, Wedding Crashers. It's a classic.
Anyhoo, to make up for the absence of raisins in my own Embutido, I added a touch of dark muscovado sugar to give the meatloaf just a hint of sweetness. And even though my Embutido is plenty moist and flavorful when it comes out of the oven, I still do enjoy it dipped in ketchup with some rice on the side.
Embutido: Filipino-Style Meatloaf
Makes 2 loaves
1 Tablespoon muscovado sugar, or brown sugar
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 eggs, beaten
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Hard boiled eggs
Hot dogs or Vienna sausages, left whole
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the sugar and soy sauce in a small bowl, stir until sugar dissolves, and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the pork, beef and vegetables. Add the beaten eggs, the soy and sugar, and the black pepper to the meat mixture and stir until everything is well-combined (mixing with your hands is best for this).
Evenly divide the meat mixture between two sheets of aluminum foil about 15-inches long. Spread the meat into a rectangle (about 10x6 inches) in the middle of the foil, and then place filling (hard boiled eggs, hot dogs and/or Vienna Sausages) in the center of the meat:
2 eggs, sans wieners
Using the foil, tightly roll the meat over the filling and into a log shape. Twist the ends of the foil closed, ensuring the meat is tightly packed:
Rollin' up a couple of fatties.
Place the rolled meat onto a cookie sheet (it may be helpful to line the cookie sheet with more foil, as the meat will leak fat and juices), then place in the oven for 1 hour to 1hour 15 minutes. You can also check for doneness (160 degrees F. is good) by sticking an instant-read thermometer through the foil and into the meat--just make sure the thermometer is stuck in all meat rather than in an egg or sausage, otherwise you'll get a false reading.
Allow the meat to cool in the foil before unwrapping. Once meat is cool, unrwrap and slice. Serve with white rice, or enjoy leftovers in some Pan de sal for a Pinoy Meatloaf Sandwich.
The Awesomest Meatloaf Known To Man!