It’s curious how some Filipinos declare that they don’t really like meatloaf, but they do like embutido. I don’t get it. Embutido is a meatloaf. And I wonder if the preference is cultural. Is it the familiarity of the name that brings back memories of Christmas and fiestas from one’s childhood? Is the preference then in the context of comfort food?
Or is it the peculiar way that embutido is seasoned? Unlike most Western meatloaves, embutido is sweet with a little tanginess.
Or is it the insane amount of eggs that go into the embutido? There were no ovens in the Philippines until the American colonization so baking was never a traditional cooking method. While Western meatloaf is traditionally baked, Filipino embutido is steamed. The steaming process does not remove excess liquid from the meat mixture and it therefore requires a lot of eggs to bind it together. Without all that egg, the embutido would be too soggy for slicing.
I love embutido. I grew up with it and I love it. But there came a time when I wondered if the embutido would taste better if the natural flavor of the meat weren’t drowned by all that egg. I experimented. One time, I added powdered cream of mushroom soup to act as binder so I could use less eggs. Another time, I baked the embutido using improvised “steaming pans.” Both worked. But, honestly, the baked version was better. And I never really went back to steaming.
In this recipe, I prepared a ground pork mixture a la embutido, packed it in a small loaf pan and I baked it, Western meatloaf style. It looks every inch a Western meatloaf but, in flavor and aroma, it is embutido all the way. »