The key to this dish, created by my fictional alter ego Chef Brett Baldwin of Mesquite Restaurant in Marfa, is the use of pulverized tortilla chips where the breadcrumbs typically (but much more boringly) are. And if you’re paying attention, you’ll note that “taco seasoning” would work instead of the itemized spices. I often use taco seasoning in such cases, because it tastes so good, but it’s probably totally uncool to admit it.
2 pounds ground beef
2 cups pulverized (pulsed in a food processor) tortilla chips
1 onion, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup plus 1 cup chunky tomato salsa
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon ground oregano
Salt and black pepper
1 cup beef stock
1 teaspoon instant roux (or cornstarch dissolved in 1 teaspoon part water)
In a mixing bowl, combine the beef with the tortilla chips, onion and egg. Stir to incorporate the 1 cup salsa along with the cumin, garlic and onion powders, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer meat mixture to a loaf pan and cook in a preheated 380-degree oven until crispy on top and done, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, heat the beef stock with the remaining salsa in a pan. When it bubbles, add the instant roux or cornstarch, letting the sauce thicken into a light gravy. Reduce heat to a simmer. When meatloaf is cooked, let cool till safe to handle and carefully slice it into servings. Transfer to the gravy. Let simmer for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serves 6-8.