Boy, did I hit a home run at my house with this week’s two recipes. I felt sorry for my husband, who had a tough holiday season on the paleo diet, often finding himself in situations where he had to veer off his diet or go hungry.
Since our growing son is developing his father’s carnivorous habits, it’s all I can do to stock enough animal flesh to prevent the whining.
I dug out my “Weeknight Paleo” cookbook and found a couple hearty and low-carb, high-flavor, stick-to-your-ribs man food. The phrase “man food” just reminded me of a hilarious phone message I got several months ago — from a man — who complained that I was writing about too much “feminine food.” His words. And he was serious. Well, I hope he’s reading today, and ready to dive into some BBQ Meatloaf Roll and Homemade Chorizo Patties.
Five things I learned:
1. The meatloaf doesn’t really qualify as “weeknight” recipe in my life. Anything that requires both an hour AND mixing raw meat with my hands AND use of the food processor is a day-off dish. But man, oh, man is it tasty. I can’t say that enough. It’s also pretty spicy, but in a flavorful way, not in a can’t-eat-this-without-a-loaf-of-bread-and-half-gallon-of-milk way.
I wish the recipe writers wouldn’t call the sauce a “paste” because that doesn’t sound very appetizing, and this sauce is very, very appetizing. It’s a delicious mixture of sautéed onions and garlic, beef stock (I had just made some. Read more about that Jan. 24), tomato paste, cider vinegar, yellow mustard and Tabasco. I could eat it with a spoon.
2. Let’s talk technique on the Meatloaf Roll. I typed it up the way the recipe called for, but this is how I really did it: I lined a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper and put the meat mixture onto the parchment, gently mashing it flat with a rubber spatula and pushing it into all the corners, creating the 9-by-13-inch rectangle they wanted me to do freehand. Then I put the pan in the refrigerator.
When I had the sauce done and the spinach filling ready, I took the pan out. I smoothed some of the sauce over the meat and spread the veggies over 2/3 of the meat. On the short end of the pan that had the spinach mixture on it, I pulled up the parchment and coaxed the meat to roll toward the other end, taking my time.
It wasn’t easy. The meat really wanted to stick to that parchment, but it eventually rolled and there’s plenty of sauce to slather on to cover any mistakes you might have made.
3. About the Chorizo Patties, they’re simple, just adding a bunch of seasoning to ground pork, but I’ll tell you what I missed before I made them: They’re better if you mix the seasonings and meat together eight hours, or overnight, before cooking, to let the flavors meld. I skimmed the recipe, figured it looked simple and left them until morning.
4. I’m not sure why the recipe calls for the patties to cook in water. I read that and thought: That’s going to drag all the sausage moisture out, to say nothing of the seasoning. Sure enough, the sausage patties were kind of dry and mild, when, considering their pepper content, should have had a considerable kick. I wound up chopping mine up and adding them to eggs.
I would not add water to the pan. If anything, I might add some olive oil.
5. You can use this sausage without making patties. It would make great taco filling, additions to frittatas or game time nachos. One more thing: I left out the cayenne altogether because it seemed to me it had enough spice. I might put some in next time. Depends on my mood. If I’m angry, you might want to pick up a loaf of bread and half-gallon of milk.
BBQ Meatloaf Roll
Total time: 1 hour; prep time: 15 minutes; serves 6
1 pound ground beef
1 pound bulk pork sausage
1 medium egg
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon chipotle powder
3 tablespoons fat (butter, ghee or coconut oil)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup beef stock
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
4 cups tightly packed fresh spinach, or 1 10-ounce package frozen leaf spinach, thawed
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
In a large bowl, combine the beef, sausage, egg, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and chipotle powder and mix thoroughly.
Using your hands, form a 9-inch-by-13-inch rectangle of meat on parchment paper, making sure the thickness is fairly even, and place in the refrigerator to chill while assembling the other ingredients.
In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the fat over medium. Add the onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes, until the onions soften.
Measure out ¼ cup of the sauteed onions and garlic and transfer to a food processor. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon fat to the processor along with the beef stock;, tomato paste, vinegar, mustard and Tabasco and pulse to make a paste.
Add the spinach to the skillet with the remaining onions and garlic and cook over medium heat until wilted and heated through.
Remove the meat from the refrigerator and brush some of the paste on top.
Spread the sauteed veggies across 2/3 of the meat. Using the parchment and your hands, carefully roll the meat up lengthwise and press the edges/flaps down to enclose all the filling.
Transfer the loaf to a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish and liberally coat with the remainder of the paste.
Bake until an instant-read thermometer registers 145 F, 30 to 45 minutes.
— “Weeknight Paleo”
Nutrition information per serving: 548 calories; 42 g fat (17 g saturated); 174 mg cholesterol; 1,537 mg sodium; 5 g carbohydrate; 1.1 g fiber; 2.8 g sugar; 36 g protein
Homemade Chorizo Patties
Total time: 20 minutes; prep time: 5 minutes; serves 4
1 pound ground pork
2 large cloves, garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chile powder (New Mexican, ancho, etc.)
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients, making sure to incorporate all the spices evenly throughout the meat. We find it easiest to use our hands. For the best flavor, we suggest refrigerating the mixture overnight to allow the flavors to combine. (Or freeze until ready to use.)
To cook chorizo patties: Form the mixture into evenly sized patties. Heat a large cast-iron or stainless steel skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the patties along with ½ cup water, cover, and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes, turning every few minutes, until cooked through (time will depend on the thickness of your patties.)
Notes: To cook chorizo in bulk form: Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chorizo, use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage, and cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
Make sure your pork is not lean pork. If it is, you’ll want to add some fat to it, such as some finely chopped bacon.
— “Weeknight Paleo”
Nutrition information per serving: 340 calories; 24 g fat (8.8 g saturated); 107 mg cholesterol; 374 mg sodium; 1 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 0 g sugar; 29 g protein
— Jennie Geisler can be reached on Twitter: @ETNGeisler.