Filipino Turkey Embutido (Meatloaf)
Embutido, or Filipino meatloaf, is a holiday tradition but it’s so easy to prepare that there’s no reason not to have it more often. The sausage and egg stuffing are optional and this version is a little leaner with ground turkey but this recipe would work using traditional ground pork.
I don’t even know how to begin describing the crazy week this has been. What a relief to be on this side of the calendar, some items crossed off the list. The newly-discovered roof leak remains a top priority but help is coming and at least the rain has let up enough to provide some relief.
The evenings called for easy comfort food and having just gone through a large batch of Thai curry soup, meatloaf was the hug on a plate that carried me through this week.
Growing up, my mom made classic American meatloaf–it was simple fare that made an appearance at the table fairly regularly and I never tired of it. I especially enjoyed the leftovers the next day, lightly pan-fried, in a sandwich with a generous amount of ketchup.
Earlier this week, instead of preparing the American classic I was inspired to try my hand at the Filipino version instead–embutido.
What is Embutido?
Embutido is the word for a type of dry-cured Spanish or Portuguese sausage but the Filipinos have adopted the term for their version of meatloaf. More a log than a loaf, embutido is traditionally a Christmas dish made with ground pork, stuffed with sausage and hard-boiled eggs and flecked with carrot, bell pepper and raisins, giving it a fancy appearance at the holiday table when sliced. The rolled, stuffed meat is typically steamed though baking is an accepted preparation.
In my desire to create a leaner version of the classic, this embutido recipe I’m sharing is made with ground turkey and stuffed with chicken sausage but you can use ground pork if that is your preference. The sausage and egg stuffing are completely optional, too–minus this extra step embutido is just as easy to prepare as the American version and for me, as I mentioned, best when the leftovers are fried and served as a sandwich.
This recipe makes two loaves/rolls. I had intended to freeze one to share with my parents so they could try my turkey version but even my raisin-loathing husband enjoyed the loaves with me, making the meal prep for the week so much easier and the week just a touch less crazy.
(Keep scrolling for the recipe and for my embutido tips.)
To make sure you’ve seasoned the meat mixture sufficiently, after combining all the ingredients for the meat mixture, take a small piece and cook it in a pan for a sample. Adjust the seasoning accordingly.
I watched a few videos on rolling embutido and noticed that most people employed the same technique–roll out the ground meat mixture flat on a piece of aluminum foil, add the sausage and egg then roll like sushi or a cake roll. It looked more complicated than it needed to be.
The easier method is to shape the meat mixture into a rectangular block, create a tiny depression in the middle with your thumb, lay the sausage half on depressed section followed by the egg halves then fold up the outer ends of the block, pinching where they meet on top and the ends and rolling to smooth out the surface. This creates a tight, firm roll and requires no finessing.
Filipino Turkey Embutido (Meatloaf)
Embutido, or Filipino meatloaf, is a holiday tradition but it’s so easy to prepare that there’s no reason not to have it more often. This version is a little leaner with ground turkey but this recipe would work using traditional ground pork.
- 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (or ground pork)
- 1/8 cup sweet pickle relish
- 1/8 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
- 1/4 cup finely grated carrots
- 1/2 finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1 large finely chopped shallot (about 1/3 cup)
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon onion powder (not onion salt)
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 chicken sausage (or pork), sliced in half lengthwise Optional
- 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced in half lengthwise Optional
- Olive Oil for brushing
Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Combine the ingredients from the ground turkey to the ground pepper in a bowl and mix well with your hand or wooden spoon.
Divide the meat mixture in two. If you’re not using the sausage and hard-boiled eggs, roll out the mixture into a log about seven inches long. Set aside and repeat with the other half of the mixture.
If stuffing with sausage and eggs, take a sheet of aluminum foil about 12-14 inches long (I use nonstick foil). Spray a small area with baking spray, lay one half of the meat mixture in the center and flatten into a rectangle about seven inches long, six inches wide and one inch thick. Create a small depression in the middle with your thumb along the length of the rectangle. Lay one of the sausage halves on the depression, the cut side facing up. Lay three egg halves cut side down right on top of the sausage half. To close the loaf take both ends of the meat mixture and bring them up to the top, pinching the top and ends together, creating a firm log. Roll to smooth the log and wrap with the sheet of foil, sealing the ends.
If you are not using the sausage and egg, lay each log on a sheet of aluminum foil sprayed with baking spray and seal in the same manner as described above.
Transfer both aluminum foil wrapped loaves/logs on a baking tray and bake for 30-35 minutes. Unwrap the foil to check for doneness. If the meatloaf needs more time bake in additional five minute intervals.
The embutido can be served after it cools a few minutes. For additional color on the exterior, open the foil wrapping and brush the surface of the loaves with olive oil. Broil for a few minutes to brown a little. Slice and serve.
Leftovers can be fried and served as sandwiches.