Special equipment: Special Equipment: Lots of little bowls (It pays to be organized.)
Crank oven to 325 degrees F.
Whisk the ketchup, tomato paste, brown sugar, cocoa powder, garlic powder, chipotles, and adobo sauce together in a small bowl.
Load the work bowl of your food processor with the croutons, chili powder, black pepper, thyme and optional cayenne and pulse to coarse crumbs. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl.
Add the onion, carrot, garlic and red pepper to the food processor bowl and pulse until finely chopped, but not pureed, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula about halfway through the process. Transfer to the bowl with the breadcrumbs.
Process the meat in two batches, pulsing 10 to 15 times or until it resembles a medium grind. Add the meat to the bowl with the crouton/vegetable mixture along with the salt and mix with your hands to combine, then quickly work in the egg.
Pack meat mixture into a 10-inch loaf pan then turn the meatloaf out onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Insert a temperature probe into the top of the loaf at a 45-degree angle, being careful not to push the tip through to the bottom of the pan. Set the thermometer alarm for 155 degrees F and place the pan on the middle rack in the oven.
After the meatloaf has been cooking for 15 minutes, slide it out on the rack and quickly brush with the chipotle glaze. Return to the oven and cook until the probe alarm sounds at 155 degrees F, about 1 hour 15 minutes.
Rest meatloaf for at least 20 minutes before slicing.
They're not really peppers, they're chiles but since about 90% of the cans say "peppers," I'm not going to fight about it.