About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Turkey Time Meatloaf

I've learned to love turkey meatloaf!  It used to leave me wanting flavor and a texture that didn't  make me think wall paper paste was an ingredient.  I've tried numerous varieties of  meatloaf recipes over 36 years and have honed down a few that meet my standards.  The recent popularity of turkey meatloaf has puzzled me.  Thanks to Cooks Illustrated, I've adapted their ingredients to the turkey version. You just can't make a turkey meatloaf  pull even to a beef, pork, veal mix without cheating. It takes everything but the kitchen sink. Yes, this is complicated, but I think worth the time and effort.  Note the clean up is easy with the foil covered rack.

You need five elements:

1: Flavor - Use 96% lean ground turkey and add flavor with onion, green pepper, garlic, smoked paprika, soy sauce, Worcestershire  and tomato sauce; salt & pepper  The real secret is to add a little fat back with grated cheese, I like Monterey Jack.
2. Texture - I like Panko bread crumbs to ward off the pastiness.  Crushed saltines are a good second.  I've tried oatmeal, stale corn bread crumbs, rice and others.  The binder needs to absorb without leaving its' fingerprint.  You should taste the meat not the binder.
3. Body - Egg and a little unflavored gelatin.  The egg is traditional the gelatin replaces veal's gelatinous nature. Providing a way for the meatloaf to drain as it cooks takes a little extra prep work but make such a difference.  Also, letting the meatloaf cool a few minutes before slicing ensures it will hold its shape when served.
4. Proportion - Very, very important. Don't just throw the ingredients together, follow the recipe. This is not a dump all in a bowl and mix up. It's done in steps, so be patient.
5. Compliment - A great meatloaf can stand on its own, but a gravy, ketchup based glaze or, my favorite, tomato - onion jam is a great finishing touch.

1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
2 tbls canola oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried thyme
1 garlic clove pressed

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium/low heat.  Add onions and green pepper and cook stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.  Add the smoked paprika and continue to cook a few more minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 more seconds,  Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool.

Cover a cooling rack top and bottom with aluminum foil. Fold the edges tightly together, then poke holes in the top layer to allow drainage. Spray top with cooking spray. Place rack on a cooking sheet.

In a medium bowl:

1 8oz can of tomato sauce
2 eggs beaten
1 tbls Worcester Sauce
1 tbls soy sauce
1tsp unflavored gelatin
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 tbls chopped fresh flat leaf Italian Parsley
Mix the tomato sauce, Worcester & Soy together, then sprinkle the gelatin over allow to bloom a few minutes the add the beaten egg and chopped parsley.
In a large bowl, mix:

 1 1/2 lbs 96% lean ground turkey with
 1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt

Now, combine with the meat mixture, in order:
-the cooled vegetables and paprika and mix, then add
- the sauce mixture, and mix
* I mix with my hands in latex gloves.

Pack the mixture into a 9x5 loaf pan and smooth the top. Then turn the loaf onto the foil covered rack and smooth edges. Bake @350 degrees for 1 hour or until a meat thermomether registers 160 degrees at the center.
Allow meat loaf to cool 10 minutes before slicing.

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