Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Formula for Turkey Meatloaf

Like many women my age, there was a time I could make a meatloaf with my eyes closed. While the mind controlling those closed eyes wasn't particularly keen on meatloaf, it was made repeatedly because it was a fast and inexpensive way to feed a family, a dish valued more for its frugality than its flavor. Once the children were on their own, meatloaf disappeared from the table. It was retired, not out of snobbery, but because demanding careers imposed time constraints and there were other things I preferred to make with my limited time in the kitchen. Several months ago, I unearthed Julia Child's recipe for pate. My family loved this dish, but it was retired long before the meatloaf, because I couldn't, in conscience, continue to prepare anything made with so much fat. The pate, however, set my mind in motion and I started to look for a new meatloaf recipe that would make my socks go up and down. I'm happy to report that after several false starts, the cavalry arrived in the form of a feature that appeared in Fine Cooking magazine. The article, written by Allison Ehri Kreitler, presents a master recipe or formula that allows you to build a meatloaf that is uniquely your own. You pick ingredients from various lists, mix them together in predetermined quantities and you are on your way. A detailed explanation of the process can be found here. If you're not feeling at all creative, eight recipes that follow the formula are also provided for you. This is good stuff, folks. Please take a peek. I know the process sounds an awful lot like a Chinese restaurant menu where you pick one from column A and two from column B, but it really does work. I've made two meatloaves using this approach and I am really happy with the results. Here's the recipe for my favorite to date.

Turkey Meatloaf...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Allison Ehri Kreitler


2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon canola or olive oil, divided use

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 cup small-diced mushrooms

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

3/4 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth

4 ounces medium-coarse white bread, such as Italian or French, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 2-1/2 cups)

1 cup whole milk

2 lb. ground turkey (not 100% breast meat)

2 large eggs

1/3 cup sliced scallions

2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fennel seeds

1/4 to -1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2-1/4 to 2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 tespoon freshly ground black pepper

10 ounces thin sliced bacon (about 9 strips)


1) Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 10 -12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Cook onion, mushrooms, and garlic, stirring frequently, until softened and just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.

2) Add white wine or vermouth, and simmer briskly, until almost dry, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer contents to a large bowl and let cool until warm.

3) In a shallow dish that holds it in a single layer, soak bread in milk, flipping once, until soggy but not falling apart, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on coarseness and freshness of bread. Lightly squeeze a handful of bread at a time to remove some of the milk (it should be wet but not drenched). Finely chop and add to bowl containing vegetable mixture.

4) Position a rack in center of oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

5) Add turkey and eggs to vegetable mixture. Scatter scallions, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes over meat, and then sprinkle with Worcestershire, 2-1/4 teaspoons salt, and pepper. Use your hands to gently mix all ingredients until just combined; try not to compact mixture as you do this.

6) Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Form 1 tablespoon of meatloaf mixture into a small patty. When oil is hot, cook patty on both sides until cooked through, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and other seasonings as needed. Repeat until you're satisfied with flavor.

7) Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment. Transfer meatloaf mixture to baking pan and form into a 10 x 4-inch rectangular block (it becomes loaf-shaped as it cooks). Finish meatloaf by draping it with slightly overlapping strips of bacon, tucking the ends under the loaf.

8) Bake until an instant-read thermometer registers 165degrees F in the center of meatloaf, 40 to 55 minutes. If necessary, broil meatloaf about 6 inches from the broiler element until bacon is brown and crisped, about 3 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board or serving platter with a large spatula and cut into 3/4- to 1-inch-thick slices. Yield: 8 servings.

You might also enjoy these recipes:

Turkey Loaf - In Flora's Kitchen

Cajun Pepper Loaf - Drick's Rambling Cafe

Quick and Easy Meatloaf - Southern Bite

Meatloaf Cupcakes Recipe - Sticky, Gooey, Creamy Chewy

Porchetta-Style Pork Meatloaf - My Gourmet Connection

Chicken Meatloaf - Healthy and Gourmet

Italian Crock-Pot Meatloaf - Food and Whine

Meatloaf - Living the Gourmet

Mexican Meatloaf - Quick and Dirty in the Kitchen

Basic Meatloaf - Deep South Dish

Moroccan Meatloaf - Simply Recipes

Lamb Meatloaf - Anne's Food

Chipotle Meatloaf - Culinary in the Country

Seared Tuscan Meatloaf - Food and Wine

Veal Meatloaf with Shiitake Mushroom Gravy - The Recipe Girl

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