You have no idea how happy it makes me to share this Stuffed Meatloaf recipe with you. Seriously!
My family has had to endure my “enthusiasm” for awhile now.
Jeff was witness to it in person. Jackie and Alyssa had to hear all about the stuffed meatloaf via Facebook and on the phone for days!
“Polpettone” translates to “large meatball.”
Valeria, a very good friend of mine (and trained chef!), came to the house recently to teach me how to make Polpettone.
The variations to stuffed meatloaf are endless! As she was coaching me, she was listing all the different things we could use as stuffing. I’m intrigued by the idea of placing a spinach omelette inside. I can imagine how beautiful it will look once the meatloaf is sliced!
I’m telling you, this meatloaf is worthy of a dinner party. I feel like throwing a dinner party because of it!
Dinner party meatloaf! Trust me!
I especially like that stuffed meatloaf is prepared ahead of time — it needs to be thoroughly cooled before slicing.
Once your guests arrive, pour the sauce over the slices and place everything in the oven to reheat while you enjoy the party. Genius!
Valeria is originally from Sicily.
Polpettone made a frequent appearance at her family’s dinner table while she was growing up and even today she continues to make this for her husband and friends.
This amazing stuffed meatloaf is just the tip of the iceberg!
Valeria has all kinds of cool culinary tricks up her sleeve. We usually get together a couple times a week for a yoga class. Then we follow that with a stop for a coffee (and pastry!). We often chat about the dishes she’d like to teach me.
I can’t wait to learn more from her — I will share the joy with all of you!
So there is a bit of technique involved.
I hope my photos and explanation are clear. I will probably supplement this post with a short video to give you a visual on how to fold up and seal the meatloaf.
Basically you’re going to start by seasoning the ground beef.
You’ll take sheet of foil — I’d say about 16 inches long.
Spray it with Pam and then sprinkle about 1/2 cup of bread crumbs over the foil. This will keep the meat from sticking to the foil.
Wet your hands (again, to keep the meat from sticking) and then flatten out and shape the meat mixture into an oblong shape — probably 11 inches long. You can see from the photo just how smooth the edges of the oblong shape are — this will help make it easier to seal.
Then you layer your deli ham, then cheese (either sliced, finely cubed or shredded), then finely chopped hard-boiled egg.
The addition of the hard-boiled egg is amazing — don’t pass this up!
Then you lift the sides of the meat, using the foil to assist with this.
Using wet hands manipulate the meat (how’s that sound?!) over the stuffing and press the sides and ends of the meat together to form a “cocoon” over all that delicious stuffing.
Then you need to perform the ever important “quality control” by checking very carefully to make sure there are no cracks in the meat.
Cracks in the meat will allow the stuffing to escape during cooking, and you don’t want that.
If you see cracks, use your wet hands to move the meat and repair those cracks.
You’re a sculptor . . .
You’re a meat artist . . .
You are a Martist!
After the meat is nicely folded and sealed, sprinkle with another tablespoon of bread crumbs and gently press into the meat. Spray everything with more Pam and then fold up the foil. It doesn’t need to be air tight — you want the steam to be able to escape. Just fold the foil over to securely cover the meatloaf.
Throw it all in the oven for 45-60 minutes.
While it’s cooking you can make the sauce.
We made two versions. The first version used sauteed mushrooms and onions. The second version had fresh peas (from our landlord’s garden!) and garlic. They were both delicious and really simple.
After the meatloaf cools, it can be sliced. Cool it thoroughly — place in the fridge.
My meatloaf split! No problem, though. I just turned it over before slicing and it was fine!
Look how pretty!
Not bad for a first try! A big thanks to Valeria for her excellent (and patient!) guidance as I fumbled my way through this first attempt!