Mexican-style Meatloaf

This has become one of my favorite recipes for a comfort-food meal!  This recipe was born of my (& Barry's) love of Mexican food.  It's moist, fragrant and embraces the flavors in Mexican cuisine; what's not to love about that?.  A surprise ingredient is nopales (cactus-a staple in Mexican cuisine) that adds moisture and whose texture reminds me of okra. (I highly doubt anyone will ever guess that this meatloaf contain cactus!)  Best of all, the house will smell like a Mexican restaurant while it bakes, and I love that!  Serves 4

Meatloaf:

1 teaspoon dried oregano (Mexican preferred)

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground Ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 canned Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped, then smashed with the back of a fork until it becomes a paste

1/3 cup ketchup

1/3 cup salsa

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup finely-diced onions

1/2 cup finely-diced Poblano pepper

1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded, membranes removed, finely diced

1/2 cup canned or jarred nopales (cactus-find it in the Mexican section), or 1 cup fresh, spines removed,  finely chopped

1 Tablespoon finely-minced garlic

1 1/2 pound ground chuck

1/2 cup very-finely crushed tortilla chips

Glaze:

1/3 cup each ketchup & salsa

1 T. honey

Preheat oven to 400-degrees.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside..

Assemble meatloaf:

Combine the seasonings in a large bowl. Add the eggs, ketchup, salsa, onions, peppers, nopales, garlic and combine well.  Break the beef up into chunks and place in the bowl; sprinkle the crushed tortilla chips over the top.  Using your hands, gently, squeeze, turn, stir, and generally "smoosh" the mixture until it is well combined.

Place the meat mixture on the sheet pan and shape into an even loaf (not too flat, as you want nice-sized pieces to serve). 

Combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and mix until well-combined.  Set aside.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, then remove and spread the glaze evenly over the top of the meatloaf.  Return to the oven and bake until an instant-read thermometer registers 160-degrees, another 15 minutes or more.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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