“As I sat by my window just thinking of you the pain and deception which broke my heart in two, but now that I see your not loving me, oh baby can’t see, just what you do to me, crying over you, is all I can do…” – If you know this song, we can totally hang.
Growing up I’d often visit, my best-friend, Jael’s family on Saturdays. Rafa, her dad,would whip out his old records to play all the classic meringue, salsa, house, and freestyle songs of the 80’s and 90’s. Living in the urban neighborhood of Washington Heights, Jael, her sister Ana, and I would sit out on our porch aka the “Fire-escape” singing Soave’s Crying Over You while imagining how cool it would be if we could wear makeup outside, dress however we wanted, and talk to the bad boys!
Guillermina, their mom, would always bring us a snack that was usually carved out of leftovers. One of my favorite snacks was the meatloaf sandwich. Since Jael and Ana grew up in a Dominican-Costa Rican household, their food was always slightly different from what my mom made at our 110% Dominican home, which revolved around rice, beans, tostones and pollo guisado. So, when I visited the Zamoras, I took advantage in trying their different flavors. I was intrigued by this meatloaf, for one thing, it looked like the All-American classic I would see on the boxes of frozen dinners my mom refused to buy, and secondly it had so much flavor.
Over the years my love for meatloaf grew even more—so much so that when Guillermina would make leftover breakfast meatloaf sandwiches for Jael to take to school, I’d hope Jael would not eat hers so I could. See, Jael has always had an aversion to red meat even from a young age, so she was not always thrilled to have meatloaf sandwiches for breakfast. Sometimes she’d give them to me, and I gladly accept them. In later years I would sit and watch Guillermina prepare her famous (me being it’s devoted groupie) meatloaf. I was fascinated by how she would chop all the veggies and herbs by hand. I wondered, would I be able to chop like that one day.
Adding my own twist to this oldie, I feel I can throw down with my meatloaf, and it’s all due to Guillermina’s Dominican-Costa Rican meatloaf. This meatloaf deviates from the All-American classic in that we don’t sweat out the veggies before adding to the mix. We simply chop up the fresh veggies and mix them raw into the ground meat. This is what makes this meatloaf taste different. It has a very fresh bite. This is definitely a crowd-pleaser and super easy to pull together.
Latin-style Meatloaf (6-8 servings)
2 lbs. lean ground meat
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup diced green pepper
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons soy sauce*
1 tablespoon BBQ sauce
2 teaspoons Dominican oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- In a large mixing bowl add ground meat and bread crumbs
- Dice onions, peppers, and cilantro
- Add diced veggies and minced garlic to meat and bread crumbs
- In a separate bowl mix all your wet ingredients along with spices and soy sauce
- Mix meat mixture with wet ingredients
- Grease a baking pan and shape meatloaf into an even log
- Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour 15 minutes
- Once the meatloaf is done, let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing so juices don’t leak out
*I used tamari soy sauce which has sweeter and richer taste than regular soy sauce.
Latin-style Meatloaf Sandwich (1 serving)
2 slices meatloaf leftovers
1 sesame hero
2 slices American cheese
Yellow onion slices
1 tablespoon mayo
- Slice hero and toast in 450 degree oven or regular toaster oven for 5 minutes
- Add cheese to bread and toast for another minute
- Layer meatloaf, lettuce, tomato, and onions on bread slice with cheese
- Smear mayo on other slice and top sandwich