Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Albondigón de hierbas

Before even traveling, I had already planned writing an extensive post on my trip to Puerto Rico. I spent a week there, and every night I took notes, I studied recipes, and I wrote mini-reviews of eateries and restaurants. Hell, I wrote enough details of my day-to-day “adventures” to write my own damn book. But the universe had other plans for me, and instead of writing the great American novel, I had to use all of my energy on fighting a nasty cold that completely annihilated my will to live. When I was not whining and feeling miserable, I was shoveling my car out of the snow. Agh.

But those are all old news now. Enough with the past. This week I was featured in Eric Hollingsworth’s week-long Clean Eating Challenge on Facebook. The challenge was not only to eat clean, but to season your meals with more than just salt and pepper. When I heard of the challenge, the absolute first thing that came to mind were pork chops and squash with pumpkin seed vinaigrette, a recipe I learned from Bon Appetite, and had since shared on this blog. So I shared that recipe with them, and I spent time answering some questions, and seeing pictures of the great meals the challengers had made.            

Talking to some of these highly motivated guys proved to be fulfilling and stimulating. I was inspired to cook something special, something that follows well the guidelines of the challenge: my albondigón de hierbas. Albondigón literally translates to big meatball, which is a meatloaf. This delectable meatloaf has only a handful of ingredients, and herbs are heavily featured. My star ingredients are oregano and parsley. Nobody likes a dry meatloaf, so I used ground chuck (80% lean), instead of a leaner cut of meat. The fat gets rendered during the roasting process anyway! The result is a delicious meatloaf that looks beautiful, and tastes even better.

On the road shortcut

1lb ground chuck
½ cup oregano, chopped
½ cup parsley, chopped
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon cumin

Preheat the oven to 450F.
Mix all the meatloaf ingredients by hand until fully incorporated. Do not overwork the mixture. Shape as a small loaf. Roast in a cast iron skillet 45-50 minutes.Let it rest 10-15 minutes before slicing.

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