Welcome to Meat Loaf Week at Tasting Table! Honor your favorite comfort food with our best meat loaf recipes and ideas all week long.
In this recipe from Fat Rice’s new cookbook, we’re introduced to capela, a meat loaf from Macau that is a popular family-meal dish at the restaurant. Unlike the classic version, this meat loaf gets its flavor and texture from olives, grated cheese, chorizo and pine nuts. It’s unlike any meat loaf you’ve ever had—in the best way possible.
This meat loaf, which is composed of ground beef, pork, chorizo and bacon, has a bit more fat than the usual loaf, but its ring shape allows excess grease to easily be collected and discarded. The milk-soaked bread and grated cheese add plenty of moisture. Ketchup optional.
To learn more, read “The King of Meat Loaves.”
Macanese Meat Loaf (Capela)
Recipe adapted from 'The Adventures of Fat Rice: Recipes from the Chicago Restaurant Inspired by Macau'
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus cooling time
Cook Time: 1 hour and 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 35 minutes, plus cooling time
7 slices (8 ounces) day-old bread, crust removed
1½ cups whole milk
½ cup (½ ounce) dried wood ear mushrooms
Boiling water, for soaking
⅓ cup olive oil
1 pound (2 medium) yellow onions, finely chopped
2 pounds ground pork
2 pounds ground beef
6 ounces chorizo or linguiça, minced
1½ cups grated Edam cheese, divided
½ cup pitted black olives, finely chopped
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 eggs, divided
6 slices bacon, halved crosswise
1. Preheat the oven to 350º. In a small bowl, combine the bread and milk, and let soak for 20 minutes. Squeeze the bread to drain any excess milk, then transfer to a large bowl.
2. Meanwhile, in a small heatproof bowl, cover the wood ear mushrooms with boiling water and let sit until rehydrated, 15 minutes. Drain and julienne, then transfer to the bowl with the bread.
3. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool completely, then transfer to the bowl with the mushrooms and bread.
4. To the large bowl, add the ground pork and beef, chorizo, 1 cup of the grated cheese, the olives, pine nuts, almonds, lemon juice, salt, pepper, lemon zest and 3 of the eggs. Using your hands, mix the meat loaf until well incorporated, then transfer to a 12-inch cast-iron skillet.
5. Press the meat loaf into a ring shape, making sure the top of the meat loaf is even with the rim of the pan and that there is a 4-inch hole in the center. Beat the remaining egg and brush the meat loaf liberally with half. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of grated cheese over the meat loaf and brush with the remaining egg. Lay the bacon slices around the meat loaf, starting in the center and draping out to the edge, like the hands of a clock.
6. Place an ovenproof 4-inch bowl in the center of the meat loaf, making sure the rim sits underneath the top of the meat loaf, so it can collect excess fat. Place the skillet on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until an internal temperature of 150º is reached according to a instant-read thermometer, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
7. Let cool for 20 minutes, then remove the bowl and discard any collected fat. Slice the meat loaf and serve.