Thursday, January 26, 2017

Ina's Turkey Meatloaf

Meatloaf gets a good and bad rap as far as I'm concerned. On one hand, it's viewed as one of the most idyllic comfort foods to eat, but on the other hand, it's often dry as sawdust with little flavor. That's why all that gravy is used!

For years, I looked for the perfect meatloaf that was both tasty and moist, but could never get both when using a beef mixture, or even a beef/pork/veal mixture. I'd either get one or the other UNTIL I tried my wife-in-another-life's turkey meatloaf! If you're just popping in, I have a small obsession with Ina Garten...just a little. :-)

I love her turkey meatloaf recipe for many reasons:
  1. Number one, it uses healthier, lower-fat meat. 
  2. Number two, it stays moist, even after reheating for leftovers or eaten on a sandwich. 
  3. Number three, it freezes AMAZINGLY for future dinners. 
  4. And number four, it tastes wonderful!  
It's pretty much a staple in our household and I make it several times a year. This recipe makes A LOT of meatloaf (2, big loaves), and I often halve it so we're not eating meatloaf for 2 weeks. But sometimes I do make the full recipe and freeze the 2nd loaf after baking for future, easy weeknight dinners.

Barefoot Contessa's Turkey Meatloaf
Recipe source: or "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook"
Makes 2, large loaves (halve recipe for 1)

3 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large onions)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup chicken stock
1-1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
5 pounds ground turkey breast
1-1/2 cups plain dry bread crumbs
3 extra-large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup ketchup

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a medium sauté pan, on medium-low heat, cook the onions, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme until the onions are translucent but not browned, approximately 15 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste and mix well. Allow to cool to room temperature (or cool 10 minutes and temper into meat mixture a little at a time while mixing). BTW, this mixture is an amazing sauce on it's own and I think would go wonderfully with a grilled steak or hamburger!

Combine the ground turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, and onion mixture in a large bowl. Mix well and shape into a rectangular loaf on an ungreased baking sheet. Spread the ketchup evenly on top. 

Bake for 1-1/2 hours, until the internal temperature is 160 degrees and the meat loaf is cooked through. (A pan of hot water in the oven, under the meat loaf, will keep the top from cracking, but I've never had to do this). I also sometimes finish the meatloaf under the oven broiler to get some charred, caramelization on the topping. Serve hot, room temperature, or cold in a sandwich.

BTW, that stuff around the meatloaf in this picture is just the fat/moisture that was baked out during cooking; it's not the meat. I probably should have plated this on a platter for a prettier picture, but oh well...this is real life. :-)

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