Let me preface this by saying that there are two strong reasons for cooking Pulpeta: One, there was an entire Cosby Show subplot involving Claire keeping Dr Huxtable from eating Pulpeta because she wanted him to have one leaf of lettuce and a rice cake; Two, it is Cuban, and therefore delicious, just like my husband. Pulpeta is, essentially, a braised and fried meatloaf stuffed with eggs and covered with bacon. Now that I typed that, I realize that I don't need to preface that at all. It should speak for itself. Here is how I make it:
1 pound of ground meat. (You can use a combo of meats, or just stick with what is in your fridge.)
1 T salt
1 T pepper
1 t Mural of Flavor from Penzeys, or just use Italian seasoning and a little extra garlic.
Liberal dump of powdered garlic (not garlic salt.)
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 beaten eggs
2 C Panko or fine bread crumbs
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 (Or more if you are big onion eaters) large onion, thinly sliced
6 bay leaves (If you are cheap with your bay you can reduce this.)
1/2 C water or apple juice
1 C beef stock
Mix all of the meat and spices (not the bay leaves) and W sauce together in a big bowl. Use your hands. Add the beaten eggs and enough Panko to make it thick and roll-able.
Flatten it out into a 10"x4" rectangle. Put the hardboiled eggs in the middle. Shape the meat around it, and mold it into a loaf, making sure the ends are all sealed up. Roll it in more panko.
In a heavy casserole pan pour some oil and heat until fragrant. Brown the loaf on all sides, and take out of pan.
In the same pan, sautee the onions until they are golden. Add the loaf back in, pour the liquids and the bay leaves in. Artfully stick some bacon slices on top of the loaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. (If you are freaking out about meat, use a meat thermometer to make sure it is cooked through. You baby.)
Remove loaf from pan, let sit for a few minutes, then slice into thick slices and serve with the hot sauce. Or serve cold as a sandwich. Either way, while you eat you must discuss how Fidel is ruining the homeland for everyone and how you want to punch those kids who wear Che TShirts in the throat.