Recipe: Meatloaf Preparada

meatloaf8.jpg
photo by Kristin Pearce
The saying "Don't Mess with Perfection" does not always apply to cooking. Take for example a perfect meatloaf and the perfect Cuban sandwich. You may wonder how you can make each of these comfort foods better? Try combining them! Anyone who has tried this dish will tell you it's a brilliant exercise in unbridled indulgence. Go for it.

Christina's Meatloaf Preparada

1 1/2 lb triple* ground veal
1 1/2 lb triple* ground pork
4 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp corn starch
1 1/2 cups milk
5 cheese croquetas
6 slices sandwich dill pickles
6 slices deli ham
6 slices muenster cheese
1 tbsp mustard
1 stick butter

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, mix the veal, pork, salt, pepper, ginger and cornstarch.
3. Using your hands, make sure it is all mixed thoroughly.
4. Start adding the milk to the meat mixture slowly, 1/2 cup at a time, making sure you mix the meat well in between.
5. Keep adding milk until the meat is soft, but not runny. It needs to keep its form, but feel almost like lumpy cooked oatmeal in your hands.  Set aside.
6. Butter a 10 inch loaf pan, adding about 4 pads to the bottom of the pan.
7. Using about 3/4 of the meat mixture, cover the bottom and sides of the pan, leaving it hollow in the middle for filling.
8. Layer the ham, cheese, mustard, pickles and finish the top off with the croquetas.
9. Take the rest of the meat mixture and "seal" in the croquetas  to complete the meatloaf.
10. Add 4 pads of butter to the top of the meatloaf and cover with foil.
11. Put the meatloaf in the middle of the oven and let cook for 50 minutes. Remove foil and let cook for additional 15 minutes.
12. Take the meatloaf out of the oven and let it cool for 20 minutes before slicing. If you slice it too soon the layers will fall apart!

You can make your own croquetas. I, however, found that the ones from the bakery (I went to Ricky Bakery on Coral Way) worked out better for me. There are some things that should be left to the professionals.

* Ask your grocer's meat counter to grind it three times. Don't worry, even Publix will do this for you.
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