Roast Baby Armadillo

DSCF7097I’m sorry but that’s what it looks like when it comes out of the oven…

A few months back, at home on a wet weekend, we were aimlessly channel surfing – which is kinda hard to do here since we’ve only got about 14 channels to surf – when we stumbled across The Pioneer Woman show. I think it may have been on Choice TV. Normally I might have lifted my eyes from what I was doing for about two whole milliseconds but my ears pricked up at the mention of The Pioneer Woman because I have heard so much about her on Five Crooked Halos and I paid attention – so did Carmen who is normally not a meat loaf person (I think meat loaf – the food and the singer – rocks and don’t understand why it has such a ‘down’ rep other than some people seem to think that it is poor people’s food). And this is no normal meat loaf…

We tried it immediately and have done several times since – this is the Rolls Royce of meat loaf but no more difficult nor complex to make than normal boring meatloaf…you can see The Pioneer Woman’s way on her blog but here’s our take on it:


  •  Meatloaf:
    • 1 cup Whole Milk
    • 6 slices White any kind of Bread – we just use our normal wholemeal homemade loaf and none of that nonsense about shuicking the crusts!
    • 2 pounds 1 kg Ground Beef mince for Kiwis
    • 1 cup (heaped) freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
    • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned Salt – we use garlic salt but you need to add at least a teaspoon to have any appreciable effect
    • 3/4 teaspoons Salt
    •  Freshly Ground Black Pepper
    • 1/3 cup Minced Flat-leaf Parsley – we have both sorts in the garden – either will do
    • 4 whole Eggs, Beaten
    • 10 slices thin/regular Bacon – maybe a little more as we like to wrap a strip around the base to help hold it all together.
  •  Sauce:
    • 1-1/2 cup Ketchup tomato sauce – we actually got some hickory ketchup specially for this dish but you don’t need to do this – good old Watties tomato sauce does the trick nicely
    • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
    • 1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
    •  Tabasco To Taste (keep adding this til the sauce is tangy)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees 180 degrees in NZ.

Pour milk over the bread slices. Allow it to soak in for several minutes.

Place the ground beef, milk-soaked bread, Parmesan, seasoned salt, salt, black pepper, and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour in beaten eggs.

With clean hands (getting into it with your hands is by far the best way to mix a mince dish), mix the ingredients until well combined. Form the mixture into a loaf shape on a broiler pan (not too sure what a broiler pan is but the idea is to elevate the loaf so that all the fat drains away). Line the bottom of the pan with foil to avoid a big mess – this is optional as I find that there is more mess of the tray from the sauce than what drains into the base of the dish.

Lay bacon slices over the top, tucking them underneath the meatloaf. We wrap a strip right around the base too the help hold it together – you can never have too much bacon.

Make the sauce: add ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and hot sauce in a mixing bowl. Stir together. Pour 1/3 of the mixture over the top of the bacon. Spread with a spoon.

Bake for 45 minutes, then pour another 1/3 of the sauce over the top. Bake for another 15 minutes.

Slice and serve with remaining sauce and lashings of mashed potatoes.

I made this on Thursday night as we had some defrosted mince and bacon in the fridge that had to be used or it would have been canine gourmet time. It was a bit spur of the moment and I suppose I could have found something else to make that used both but once I had my heart (or stomach?) set on this, it was going to happen…

I only had 500 grams of mince (for the third world that has yet to convert to metricalism that’s just over a pound) and no milk ( it was after 7 in the evening and the garage in National Park was closed – the next closest dairy was 30-40 km away) so I halved most of the ingredients above but replaced the fluid of the milk by keeping the eggs at four and replaced the bread (it was about now I realised that I hadn’t put on another loaf of bread since finishing the last one) with a couple of cups of breadcrumbs (made from our homemade bread so close enough!) I keep most of the spices at the same level as the original as I think that the Pioneer Woman tends to under-spice this dish…


Here’s how it looks once sliced – cooked properly, the sauce will caramelise all over the outside and become a delicious chewy crust with the bacon. It was absolutely delissimo served with mashed kumara, carrot and potato (all combined together in about equal quantities – once again, making the best use of what was in the fridge before it time-expired)…and leaving plenty for sammies and snacks over the next few days…

I thought of submitting this as my entry in this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge ‘Masterpiece’ but I might think some more about my approach to that…it is a pretty damn fine meatloaf though but ‘masterpiece’? I’m not too sure yet…

14 thoughts on “Roast Baby Armadillo

    • It was just a thought that struck me as I took it out of the oven – I don’t think that I’ve ever actually seen a for-real armadillo – and that perception sort of took root…


      • I found a baby one in the yard one day when I was little. Had planned to keep it, but it tunneled under the fence. Our golden retriever used to flush them out on walks. I don’t think I’ve seen one since he passed away.


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