Pastel de Carne – Meatloaf, Two Ways

This is another well-known dish, originally from Europe, but very popular in Mexico as in many other places; it may be included as part of a menu, or just as a full meal with a side of potatoes, or a salad.  Meatloaf is also known in Spanish as albondigón – big meatball, and some regional recipes, particularly in Southern Mexico, require onerous steps, such as cooking the large piece of ground meat by frying in lard, or steaming; stuffing with elaborate preparations; and coating in sauce, usually tomato based.  I am sure I will take the opportunity to explore some of those recipes soon, but this time I am presenting two simple versions, baked in the oven: the more traditional recipe, which includes bread, milk, and bacon, and a “light” version I just developed, without those ingredients, suitable for people who avoid pork, or with intolerances to gluten and lactose.  They are both delicious, and sure to please any meat lover.  Each recipe is enough for six portions.

Meatloaf – Pastel de carne 

Printable recipe: Traditional Mexican Meatloaf

Printable recipe: Light Meatloaf

Ingredients (Traditional)

1 lb ground meat (beef, pork, or a combination)
¼ cup milk
1 egg
1 slice bread; torn into small pieces
1 tsp salt, or to taste
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp black pepper
3-4 hard-boiled eggs
6 slices bacon

Ingredients (Light)

1 lb lean ground beef
¼ onion; peeled and grated
1 egg
1 apple; cored and finely grated
1 tsp salt, or to taste
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp black pepper
3-4 hard-boiled eggs
¼ cup ketchup
2 tbsp mayonnaise

Line a baking sheet with foil; preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).  Arrange meat in a large bowl, opening a circle in the middle. Add the next six ingredients in the centre of the meat; traditional recipe, photo below, left, and light recipe, right:

Mix ingredients in the centre with a fork, then incorporate with the meat:


Once perfectly incorporated, knead with clean hands and shape mixture into a rectangle on the prepared sheet, of approximately half an inch in thickness; trim edges of the hard-boiled eggs to remove excess white (for presentation, optional) and place them on top of the meat, arranged in line lengthwise, at the centre of the rectangle.  I did not trim the eggs to avoid waste, but if trimming, probably an extra egg would have to be lined up; traditional meatloaf in the photo below, left, light meatloaf on the right:

004 filling metloaf

Wrap meat around the eggs, to form a loaf with the hard-boiled eggs in the middle; cover traditional loaf with slices of bacon, tucking the ends underneath the loaf:

005 meatloaf two ways

Cover with parchment paper, then bake in pre-heated oven (photo below, left). Meanwhile, mix ketchup and mayo (for the light recipe), and reserve (photo below, right):

After 30 minutes, remove parchment paper from top, coat light meatloaf with reserved sauce (photo below, left) and return to the oven, uncovered, for another half hour, or until fully cooked, and top bacon is crispy, and sauce has glazed (photo below, right):

Let rest outside the oven, covered with parchment paper for at least 15 minutes before slicing (photo below, right out of the oven):

010 meatloaf traditional and light after baking

It may be served warm or at room temperature; traditional meatloaf, photo below, left, and light meatloaf, right:

In the photos above, the difference in texture between the two loaves may be appreciated.  My husband and I liked both versions, but we decided the light recipe resulted in a more tender and moist meatloaf than the traditional one, and he declared it “a keeper.”

About hard-boiled eggs: A good way to avoid the grey ring around the egg yolks in hard-boiled eggs, is to prevent overcooking.  I try to place raw eggs at room temperature in a pan with enough tap water to cover the eggs over by one inch, then bringing to a vigorous rolling boil over high heat; I remove the pan from the heat and let rest, covered, for nine minutes*.  After this time, I place the pan under running tap water to slowly cool the water in the pan, along with the eggs; cooling the eggs seems to loosen up the membrane between the egg white and the shell, allowing easy peeling, without shell shards adhering to the egg.

* Note: for my region’s low elevation of 190 m (623.4 ft) above sea level, water boils very close to its sea-level boiling point of 100°C (212°F), but for every increase in altitude of 150 m (500 ft.), the boiling point of water decreases by 1°F.  At high altitudes, longer cooking times will be required to adjust for this change.  For example, in Mexico City, an elevation of 2,250 meters (7,377 ft.) causes water to boil at only 92°C (198°F); I remember my mom leaving the boiled eggs resting in the pan with hot water for any length of time, even sometimes until they reached room temperature, with no dramatic consequences, colour wise.

I am joining Fiesta Friday #259 with Angie @ Fiesta Friday, this week with co-hosts Ai @ Ai Made It For You and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

Thank you so much to Helen @ The Lazy Gastronome for featuring my Stuffed Pork Chops recipe in her What’s for Dinner? Sunday Link-Up # 184! I am joining with these meatloaves, a great dinner option for Sunday or any day of the week.

I am also joining Mix it up Monday #143 @ Flour Me with Love  and Anna @ Strawberry Butterscotch‘s Saturday Shuffle Blog Hop # 185

Acknowledging “National Meatloaf Day” on October 18, 2020, I am bringing these recipes to What’s for Dinner? Sunday Link-Up #285 with Helen @ The Lazy Gastronome.

25 thoughts on “Pastel de Carne – Meatloaf, Two Ways

    1. Hee hee, yes, maybe they could be part of a “Minions” theme party! I know you are not eating a lot of meat these days, but the second recipe is gluten and lactose free, with apples and onions instead of bread and milk.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. oh, a Minions party! that sounds like a fun theme. I do think the apples and onions sound better. Mostly cuz apples let me sneak a little sweetness into my eating style.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Irene! Your meatloaf looks delicious! I’ve actually never tried meatloaf (both making and eating). I’ll use your recipe when I try it tho! Happy Fiesta Friday 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a PERFECT set of recipes for me! I am on a very low carb diet for medical reasons and both of these fit the bill AND are a comfort food for me. WIN! WIN!!
    Thank you!


    1. It is a tad sweeter, although I think the grated onion is the big flavour changer in the recipe (in a good way); the texture, though, is lighter and very moist. Have a great week, Helen!


  3. Mmmm – both of those would make a great sandwich the next day! Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party. Hope you have a cozy week.


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