You’ll never have had meatloaf quite like this before, so give it a try and savour the taste of Macao’s diverse gastronomic history.
Macanese cuisine’s unique fusion of flavours dates back to the 16th century, when the Portuguese arrived in Macao. They attempted to recreate the dishes of their homeland using local ingredients along with those from their trading routes in India, Africa and South East Asia. Reflecting its intriguing culinary history, Macao was designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy in 2017 – making it the ideal destination for a culturally rich foodie break.
Few dishes reflect its patchwork of culinary influences better than capella (the Portuguese word for 'chapel'). Give it a go!
How to make capella (Macanese meatloaf)
Prep time 15 mins
Cooking time 1 hr 25 mins
- 2 tbsp light olive oil
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1.2kg lean pork mince
- 1.2kg lean beef mince
- 125g Portuguese chouriço, finely chopped
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1-2 tbsp soy sauce
- 100g black olives, roughly chopped
- 60g toasted flaked almonds, chopped
- 60g toasted pine nuts, chopped
- 150g manchego cheese, grated (alternatively, use gruyère)
- 150g stale breadcrumbs
- 3 large free-range eggs, beaten
- 6 slices back bacon halved lengthways
- Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan set over a medium-low heat and cook the onion for 10 mins until golden brown, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
- Put the pork mince, beef mince and chouriço in a large mixing bowl along with the cooked onions. Season with 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper and 1 tsp ground white pepper, then add the chilli flakes, soy sauce, olives, almonds and pine nuts. Add the breadcrumbs, ¾ of the beaten egg and half of the cheese. Use your hands to mix until well combined.
- Mould the mixture into a large sausage shape (roughly 50cm in length) then set in a circle in a shallow 25cm casserole dish, leaving a 10cm diameter space in the middle.
- Brush with a little of the remaining beaten egg, sprinkle over the rest of the cheese and add the bacon strips in an even layer around the top. Brush with the remaining egg and set the dish in a roasting tin (to collect any bubbling juices). Put an oiled ovenproof bowl or clean can into the centre space to help your capella hold its shape.
- Bake for 1 hr 25 mins until cooked through and golden on top. Leave to rest for 15 mins. Serve with a crispy green salad.
TIP: leftovers can be frozen for up to one month; defrost in the fridge overnight and cook under a hot grill or on the barbecue for around 4 mins on each side until hot.
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