Tender and juicy, stuffed with cheese and roasted red peppers, this Meatloaf is really one of the best ever!
This recipe combines the flavors of two favorite Greek foods. The one is Mpiftekia (baked Greek meatballs) and the other is the flavor of Stuffed Red Peppers With Feta Cheese (a traditional Greek appetizer). If by any chance you have tried these foods then you can understand how tasty this meatloaf is.
It is made with two types of ground meat, beef, and pork. I find this combination yields a more flavorful and juicy meatloaf. To make the stuffing you blend Feta cheese until smooth in a food processor and combine it with grated Gruyere cheese and diced roasted red peppers. The roasted red peppers not only give so much flavor but also couple so well with the Feta cheese.
This meatloaf gets baked together with the potatoes. As we Greeks love potatoes (who doesn't?) and especially baked together with the meat. Like in our classic Baked Chicken With Potatoes, or Baked Pork Chops With Potatoes, and many more.
How To Make Meatloaf Stuffed With Cheese
It is not something difficult to make. The whole trick to this recipe is to pay attention to the ground meat having the right amount of moisture. In order to be able to shape it easily yet not become too dry when baked. Let me explain this up a bit...
You should add enough breadcrumbs to the mixture so the meatloaf holds its shape nicely. But not too many to result in a dry meatloaf. In the recipe below I'm giving you an exact amount of breadcrumbs to use. But you may need to adjust this if, for example, you are using frozen ground meat and not fresh. When you freeze ground meat and then unfreeze it its texture kind of breaks and its juices get released resulting in more moist-liquidy ground meat.
And that's why you need to pay attention to this and add additional breadcrumbs if needed. When you take a piece of ground meat after you mix all the ingredients in, try to shape it into a ball and it still looks mushy, then you definitely need to add more breadcrumbs to it.
Or you can skip all the worries and use fresh ground meat that hasn't been frozen for the best results possible!
Now you may be wondering why I add water to the meat mixture. That's because when baked the meat is going to start and release its moisture. That's why you need to add some additional more to it so the meatloaf is nice and juicy after getting cooked.
Also, the water you add to the ground meat together with the breadcrumbs makes the texture of the meat, less dense and much lighter.
Now as for making the meatloaf. After combining all the ingredients with the ground meat (onion, garlic, eggs, parsley, dried oregano, dried thyme, and breadcrumbs).
Note: onion and garlic get sauteed a bit in a pan first for extra flavor.
You knead the meat for a few minutes to give it time to absorb everything properly and get nice and smooth. You then add it to a piece of parchment paper and shape it into a large rectangle. Press and flatten it with your hands.
Then add the creamed Feta cheese filling to the bottom end of the rectangle. Mixed together with the grated Gruyere cheese and diced roasted red peppers. Using the parchment paper to help you out with this, overlap the bottom end, closing the filling inside. Then keep rolling upwards to create a log.
With the help of the parchment paper, transfer the roll to a pan that fits it. And carefully remove the parchment paper. Tuck in the ends of the roll to secure the filling inside. Then add the potatoes on the sides along with the remaining ingredients and bake first at a higher temperature for the meat to create an outer crust. And then lower the temperature and bake until meatloaf and potatoes are cooked throughout.
You can use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat. Ideally, it should reach 78°C for a juicy, properly baked meatloaf.
Also, it is best to let the meatloaf rest out of the oven for about 20 minutes before cutting and serving. This will make the cutting process much easier.
Sides To Serve With Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf
- Greek Cabbage Salad (Vinegar Coleslaw). My favorite salad to serve with this dish!
- Cucumber Salad With Yogurt And Mint.
- Classic Greek Salad
- Greek Eggplant Dip
Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf (Feta, Gruyere & Roasted Red Peppers)
For The Meatloaf:
- 600 grams / 1 lb + 5 oz lean ground beef
- 400 grams / 14 oz ground pork
- 1 medium-sized onion minced
- 5 large garlic cloves minced
- 2 medium-sized eggs
- ⅓ cup chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons dried thyme
- 1 cup (or more) breadcrumbs
For The Cheese Stuffing:
- 400 grams / 14 oz feta cheese
- 50 grams / 1.7 oz Gruyere grated
- 1 large roasted red pepper (like these)
For The Potatoes:
- 5-6 medium-sized potatoes peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons sweet red pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil (plus a bit more to drizzle over the meat)
- ½ cup white wine
- a few sprigs fresh thyme
For The Meatloaf:
- Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for a minute. Then add the garlic and cook until both get lightly softened. No need to get any color. Remove from heat.
- In a mixing bowl add all of the ingredients for the meatloaf. Add the cooked onion and garlic as well. Pour in a ¼ cup of water. Season with salt and pepper. Add just a tiny amount of salt as both Feta and Gruyere are very salty. Mix and knead the ground meat with your hands for 2-3 minutes. It should be firm enough to hold its shape yet moist enough. If you can easily shape a small part of the meat to a perfectly round ball then you're good to go. If your ball looks a bit mushy then you need to add some more breadcrumbs to the mixture.
- Once done, place the bowl in the fridge and let set for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the cheese stuffing.
For The Stuffing:
- Add the feta cheese to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Dice the red pepper and add it along with the Gruyere to the bowl also.
- Mix with a spoon until all the ingredients get thoroughly combined.
- Take a piece of parchment paper and place it on your working surface. Add the ground meat mixture on top in order to form a flat and smooth 30 x 33 cm rectangle.
- Add the filling on the bottom edge leaving about 2 cm space from the bottom and also the sides.
- Using the parchment paper to help you hold it, start to roll towards the opposite edge. With your hands press the sides of the roll to help stick together well.
- Then carefully transfer the roll along with the parchment paper and place it in the center of a 27 x 39 cm (10 x 15 inch) pan.
- Slowly remove the parchment paper leaving only the meatloaf in the pan. If you don't feel confident doing that, you can just cut the excess parchment paper with a pair of scissors. Leaving only a small piece on the base of the loaf which you can remove after baking.
- Preheat oven to 392°F / 200°C.
- In a mixing bowl add the potatoes, sweet red pepper, and 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well to combine. Then lay the potatoes all around the meatloaf.
- Add also a generous drizzle of olive oil all over the top of the meatloaf.
- Toss the sprigs of thyme here and there. Pour the wine in the pan.
- Bake for about 15 minutes until it gets some color. Then drop the temperature to 338°F / 170°C and bake for 35-40 minutes more. You may use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat to be sure. For a moist and tender meatloaf, a temperature of 78°C is ideal.
- Remove from oven and let the meatloaf rest for 20 minutes. Then cut and serve!
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