Homemade: Meatloaf with Alheira and Spinach filling

Last week I published a post about our first dinner party at the new flat. As the Menu was too extensive to publish all recipes in one go, I published the starters recipes last week (here) and today I am sharing the recipe for the delicious meatloaf with with Alheira and Spinach filling (Alheira is a Portuguese type of sausage made of game meat).

If you’ve been following the blog for a while you’ll know how much I love meatloaf. It’s one of my absolutely favourite dishes. My Belgian family – my grandma, my aunt and my dad – make the best meatloaf, and although I haven’t quite mastered it as well as they have, I have to say it’s getting pretty good.

Also I love to experiment and try different fillings: apple and spinach, spinach and onion, sausage, spinach and sausage…

I had made this one before, as I usually prefer to do the ‘trials’ just for when it is just the two of us. Here’s how to make it.

You’ll need:
500g mince beef
500g mince pork
*usually to make it healthier I only use turkey or turkey+pork
2 eggs
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
100ml milk
1 medium onion
2 or 3 garlic cloves
Seasoning: salt, thyme, paprika, black pepper (I don’t use it, but feel free to do so), whatever else you want to add
Bread crumbs (optional)
300g of spinach
1 Alheira (Portuguese sausage)
Olive oil

Here’s how to do it:

Start with the spinach. Wash it thoroughly. Place a tiny bit of olive oil on a large frying pan, turn the hob on but don’t let it burn. Once it’s hot place the spinach and mixed it well, making sure not to burn any of the spinach. I usually add one thinly shopped garlic clove. Once the spinach have shrunk, remove it from the pan and place it on a large strainer to drain (squeeze out any excess water). Set it aside.

Roughly chop up the onion and garlic and throw it in a blender or food processor. Add a very small amount of water, just so it’s easier to blend, and blend until you get a sort of onion mash.

Place the beef and pork on a large bowl. Add the onion and garlic mash, the two eggs, the milk, the Worcestershire sauce and the seasoning. Using your hands mix it all very well, until you have a ‘giant ball of meat’.

Get some foil and place it on the counter. This is to place the meat and prepare the loaf, so it’s advisable to get a large piece of foil. Here’s a tip: I usually place the foil on top of the roasting dish I plan to use, so I know that the loaf is the perfect fit for that roaster.

Place the meat on the foil and spread it so you get a rectangle. Like this:

Peel off the Portuguese sausage skin, gently so you don’t waste any meat. Place the spinach on the middle of the ‘meat rectangle’ and the sausage on top, making sure it’s enough for the whole loaf.
*I didn’t have pictures for this part of the one with the sausage, but I did for one I made previously with spinach and apple:

Carefully, using the foil to aid you, roll one of the sides of the ‘meat rectangle’ making sure it covers most of the filling. Roll the other side, making sure it’s fully closed. Using your hands, make sure the meatloaf, is completely ‘closed’. It should look like this:

You can choose to add some breadcrumbs all around the loaf, so you get that crunchy texture. However it’s not the healthiest. On this occasion, as it was a ‘special dinner’ I added the breadcrumbs.

Use kitchen paper and a bit of olive oil to grease the roasting dish. Place the meatloaf in the roasting dish (this can be tricky sometimes, I use the foil to help). Drizzle with some white wine and a bit of olive oil, or if you prefer a few bits of butter.

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas and let it cook for about 45 min to 1 hour, although depending on your oven, you may have to check after 30 min.

And that’s it! It’s not that difficult right? And I promise it tastes amazing. Plus there’s a thousand different things you can try. If you don’t have anything resembling ‘alheiras’, you can use other types of smoked sausages (as long as they’re ‘soft’/ squishable) or you can opt for just spinach, or spinach and apple which is amazing (in this case add the apple to the frying pan when you’re cooking the spinach, so it’s softened), or whatever you feel like trying.

Bon Appetit!



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