Turkey Meatloaf

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Hello summer! Before it gets too hot, let’s use the oven one more time for a tasty meal: meatloaf!

I remember dreading meatloaf growing up. It was exactly what it sounded. A loaf of dense, heavy, plain, icky meat. Since then, I discovered that we weren’t making it right. You just can’t throw a couple pounds of ground beef in a loaf pan, throw some oats or white bread pieces in it, pour some ketchup on top, and call it good. I have learned from the mistakes of others and understand how to make meatloaf more than a scary nostalgic dish. Meatloaf can be delicious. I promise.

Ina Garten is one of my favorite chefs. Not only is she funny and personable, all of her recipes are amazing. This one is no exception. Her Turkey Meatloaf recipe is out of this world. I didn’t change a thing. My only complaint is that it takes over an hour to make, but it’s worth the wait. I do provide some tips on how to decrease the cooking time so read on.

Gather your ingredients.

Turkey Meatloaf

Preheat your oven. Chop up an onion, mince some fresh thyme and sage (please use fresh!), and grate some garlic. Heat up some olive oil in a large skillet, and add your onions, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper. Cook it until the onions are a bit soft. Add the garlic, cook for another minute, and then add the tomato paste and cook that for another minute. I really think that adding tomato paste adds a ton of flavor. Throw in some Worcestershire sauce. That adds a bunch of flavor too. Turn off the skillet and let this cool a bit so you don’t burn your hands later.

Turkey Meatloaf

In a bowl, combine panko breadcrumbs and broth. I like this combination more than using plain bread. The broth will prevent a dry meatloaf. Next, add your ground turkey (I prefer ground turkey with dark meat rather than ground white turkey), eggs, more salt and pepper, and your cooled onion mixture. The next part is messy. I can never manage to combine it with a spoon so just get your hands in there and mix it up until it’s just combined. The more your work the meatloaf, the tougher it’ll be, but you do want the ingredients well distributed.

Instead of using a loaf pan, form a loaf on a foil-lined baking sheet. Making multiple smaller loaves or mini loaves in cupcake tins will work too and cut down on the cooking time. Just make sure the meatloaf 165 degrees F in the center before calling it done. For this large meatloaf, cook it for at least an hour. This is a good time to watch some TV or catch up on your reading.

When it’s 165 degrees F in the center, pull it out and let it rest a bit. If you don’t wait, the slices will fall apart when you slice it. Enjoy with your favorite veggie and starch (maybe some green beans and mashed potatoes!). I put it on a bed of beans and rice. Sorry, but I had that in the fridge and wanted to use it up. I know, weird combination, but go with it. No one seemed to complain.

Turkey Meatloaf

So here’s the scoop. Yes, summer is approaching, but this meatloaf reminds me of Thanksgiving. The secret ingredients are the fresh thyme and sage. Mixing it with ground turkey is just like turkey dressing. Sometimes you just need something special and comforting before the heat pours in.

Turkey Meatloaf

Turkey Meatloaf

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3 pounds ground turkey
  • 2 large eggs

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, thyme, sage, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring to incorporate. Stir in the Worcestershire. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  • Add the panko to a large mixing bowl and pour over the chicken broth so the breadcrumbs soak up the liquid. Add the turkey, eggs, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and the cooled onion mixture and mix well with your hands until well combined. Form the mixture into a 10-by-5-inch loaf on the foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Put the meatloaf in the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake until a thermometer inserted in the center of the loaf reads 165 degrees F, at least 1 hour. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving.
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