Recipe: Mallard Meatloaf

Mallard Meatloaf – AKA – Mexican Meatloaf
by: Scott Leysath – The Sporting Chef

I think I might finally be fed up with cooking competitions on TV.  Somewhere along the TV timeline, a handful of affected, pompous foodies decided that they were going to pass judgment on what is or isn’t fit to eat.  And we ate it up, literally.  The typical cooking “reality” show involves a diverse group of people living together in cramped quarters while awaiting their next culinary challenge.  Some of them actually earn a living by working in a kitchen while others seem to be chosen simply for comic relief.  At the end of the thirteen week season, the winner gets the big hat and a chance to appear at mall openings and harvest fairs until his or her star fades into the distance forever.
Of course, I, like everyone else, have my own food favorites, but I wouldn’t think of telling anyone else that it’s my way or the highway.  While I do find people’s food preferences interesting, it doesn’t affect me one way or another if someone puts ketchup on their lobster or cooks their game well-done.  Perhaps if Gordon Ramsay of Hell’s Kitchen declared that pairing ketchup and lobster is “spot on”, then the rest of us would blindly follow along.  For the past couple of decades, I’ve been preaching the gospel of medium-rare game cooking.  I’ve changed a few minds along the way, but most folks pretty much stay the culinary course they’ve chosen for themselves many years ago.  “We’re just meat and potatoes people”
Occasionally, I come up with a recipe that really makes me happy.  It tastes so good that I can’t imagine anyone not liking it, but I know that the mere mention of the word “Mexican” will put fear in the minds of those who can’t take the heat.  Rest assured, this meatloaf is only loaded with flavor, not fire.  Those who like it hot can always ramp up the heat with some additional peppers, seasonings or hot sauce.  It’s a great way to use up inventory from the freezer and, best of all; it works with just about any combination of game meats like venison, wild turkey and upland game birds, provided that you add at least one-third ground beef to the mix.  Since most of us don’t own a meat grinder, you can process thawed game meat by cutting it up into bite-sized chunks and quickly pulsing in a food processor until the meat is roughly the size of a garbanzo bean.  The recipe is nothing fancy and I’m sure one of the Top Chef judges wouldn’t like it, but we really don’t care, do we?

Mexican Meatloaf

6 – 8 servings
1 cup onions, finely diced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups crushed tortilla chips
2 eggs, lightly beaten MallardMeatloaf--element67
1 cup tomato salsa (your choice of mild, medium or spicy)
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds (about 3 cups) ground duck, goose or antlered game
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound chorizo sausage, casing removed, crumbled
Combine onion, jalapeno pepper and garlic in a large bowl. Add tortilla chips with next 8 ingredients and mix well. Add ground game meat, beef and chorizo.  Mix all ingredients thoroughly with your hands. In a lightly oiled loaf pan or baking dish, form into a loaf about 4 inches tall.
Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 50 minutes or until internal temperature is 155 degrees. Lightly cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing into 1-inch thick slices.  Serve with salsa, mustard or chipotle mayonnaise. 

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