I hardly even know how to start this, realizing that many of you are already yawning at the mere mention of meatloaf. But, stay with me, people, that’s the whole reason I decided to talk about it today. Not that I wanted to exactly bore you into clicking away to something more hip and edgy or fusion something or other, but to help you recognize the prejudice and perhaps even disdain you might harbor for this oft-maligned staple from the 50’s. Yes, I know that meatloaf has been around for centuries, but it took the 50’s to turn it into styrofoam.
I will acknowledge here that many of our mothers and grandmothers made good meatloaves, otherwise we would not to this day find it one of the top comfort foods on most people’s lists. And I must also admit that for years I only made meatloaf just so I could have meatloaf sandwiches for a week. Crying shame.
And then several years ago I came to the conclusion that I might actually want to enjoy meatloaf and set out on a serious culinary quest to solve the meatloaf question once and for all; to crack the code and not only create a meatloaf that was moist and delicious and flavorful, but I was going to do it with ground turkey! I was the first to admit this might actually be an impossibility.
Of course, had that been the case, we would not be here right now enjoying this moment together, because yes, my dears, I think I did crack the code, and we have been enjoying tasty, delicious, moist and flavorful turkey meatloaf for several years now.
There are several factors and ingredients that contributed to this eventual outcome, and the first was discovering this little bottle of Kitchen Bouquet. For years and years our grandmothers, mothers, and yes, myself have been using it to boost the deliciousness of our gravies and meat sauces. But with some experimentation I found out that adding it to meatballs and meatloaf made with ground turkey boosted the flavor quotient by about a billion.
The second crucial component of deliciousness is the sauce/glaze. We’re talking here about ketchup, brown sugar, cider vinegar and molasses, and I promise you there is no meatloaf party without it. This lovely concoction gets drizzled over the meatloaf before it goes into the oven, and then again about halfway through baking and then again when it comes out of the oven. It goes something like this…
I will leave it to you to imagine how delicious this meatloaf is, but I will tell you that even though I still love my meatloaf sandwiches, there’s rarely enough left over for more than a couple. Here’s the recipe…
Tasty Turkey Meatloaf
We love how moist, tender and flavorful this meatloaf is, but to accomplish this you will need a good ratio of fat to protein in your meat. If you cannot find a ratio of 93/7 in your store, then use ¾ ground thigh meat and ¼ ground breast. Mix them well before adding them to the other ingredients. It would also work fine to use straight ground turkey thigh. Kitchen Bouquet is a dark seasoning sauce that adds a real flavor boost when using ground turkey. You can find it either on the condiment or cooking aisle, or order it here.
Brown Sugar - Ketchup Glaze
½ cup ketchup
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 T molasses
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 slices bacon, chopped (I use turkey bacon)
1 small/medium onion , chopped
2 cloves garlic , minced
1 ½ tablespoons kitchen bouquet
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon dried thyme
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup whole milk
2 lb ground turkey
1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs
½ cup fresh parsley, minced
1 to 2 tablespoons of hot pepper sauce (optional)
For the glaze
Mix all ingredients in a small sauce pan. Heat to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes (until slightly thickens) and then set aside.
For the meatloaf
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion, bacon and garlic; sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool while preparing remaining ingredients.
2. Mix eggs with thyme, salt, pepper, Kitchen Bouquet, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, pepper sauce, and milk. Add the egg mixture to the meat in a large bowl along with the breadcrumbs, parsley, and cooked onion and garlic; mix until evenly blended.
3. Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and pat the meatloaf mixture into the pan. You can proceed to glazing and cooking the meatloaf, or cover the meatloaf with some plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.
4. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place the loaf pan upside down on it. Tap until the meatloaf releases. Remove the loaf pan and brush the meat with one-third of the glaze. Bake until the glaze is set, about 25 minutes. Top with another one-third of glaze and continue to bake until the second coat has set, about 20- 25 minutes longer. Pour the remaining glaze over the loaf and let it cool about 5 minutes. Slice and serve.