Meat loaf

This is a simple, yet delicious meat loaf, which can be served hot, warm or cold, as a meal or as sandwich filling.

It is always made in doughnut shape. The name means chapel or shrine but the reason is lost in history.

We present here a recipe with variations, and also two historical versions.

Capela from Margarida “Margie” Yvanovich Alves

1lb | 450g minced pork
2 rashers of bacon, chopped, or ½ packet of bacon pieces
1 slice of bread, soaked and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
The whites of 2 spring onions, chopped
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 tsp nutmeg
Cornflake crumbs for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté onion and mix the remainder of the ingredients without cooking. Form into a ring. Rub in a little of the reserved egg over and sprinkle crumbs.

Form into a ring. Rub on a little of the reserved egg over and sprinkle crumbs.

Bake in oven at 200° for 45-60 mins

Add 200g of grated cheddar or tasty cheese to the mixture (but then do not add any extra salt).
At the bottom of a hollow-centred round jelly mould, arrange strips of thinly sliced fat bacon radially for decoration. Carefully put the mixture inside and press down firmly. Cover with aluminium foil and bake at 160°C for 30 to 45 mins. When done, invert onto a heat-proof plate and grill until nicely browned.
Add chopped olives to the mixture.
Decorate with roasted almonds, split into halves.

Capela from “Guilly” Canavarro Remedios

½ lb | 225g pork with skin
1 thin slice bread, soaked in cold water and squeezed
3 tsp grated cheese
4 spring onions or 1 small onion, chopped very fine
1 large egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste
1 oz | 28g almonds
toasted bread crumbs

Take a 1-oz | 28g piece of the fat from the pork and pass the rest through the mincing machine.

Mix well the minced pork, bread, cheese, onion, egg, salt and pepper. Cut the 1 oz | 56g of pork fat into thin strips about 3½” | 9cm long.

Put the almonds in boiling water for a couple of minutes, peel off the skin and open into halves.

Heap the pork mixture on a a baking tray and shape into a round or oval-shape about l½” | 4cm high and 1¾” | 4cm wide. Smooth it and make it very neat. Array the strips of fat radially on top. Sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs and decorate the top neatly with the almonds sticking quarter way into the meat.

Bake in a moderate oven for ½ hour or till done. The surface should be nicely brown and the almonds crispy. Remove from the oven, loosen the bottom carefully with a flexible knife and place neatly on a flat dish.

Capela from Maria Celestina de Mello e Senna

This delicious dish, that few know how to prepare, is not difficult, but can be done in an instant. The secret of capela is this: it has to be made with pork that is not too fat.

1½ lb | 675g minced pork
soft centre of 1 slice of bread, soaked in cold water
diced olives
slices of bacon, lightly salted
1 onion, diced
½ dried onion, diced

Squeeze water from the bread.

Put enough lard in a saucepan to brown the onions and dried onions. When done, add the minced pork seasoned with salt and pepper. Stir well and add the bread and diced olives.

Turn out onto a round oven-proof plate. While still hot, use a wooden spoon to shape into a mound with a hole in the middle. Carefully, with the aid of another spoon, keep pressing and shaping. When warm, press down with your hands.

Sprinkle with bread crumbs, grated cheese and a tbsp of melted lard, array with slices of bacon fat and put into a hot oven. The plate should not be exposed to the full force of the fire.

When the bacon is cooked, the capela is done.

You can also use diced ham, chouriço or any salt meat.

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