Kid Tested, Toddler Approved: Child Proof Meatloaf!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

For some reason, my daughter Ecaterina does not like ground anything. This means no burgers, no chili, no sloppy joes or lettuce cups. And this presents a bit of a problem considering meatloaf is one of the most mommy-friendly dinners to prepare.

I grew up a kid of immigrant parents. That means we never had meatloaf. My grandma made once something like meatloaf, but it had boiled eggs in it and was...weird. I never really had meatloaf before until I was an adult, and curiosity peeked, I tried making it myself! Well, predictably, it was dry and bland and I could see why my parents never jumped on the meatloaf bandwagon. But then I had it a few years later at a restaurant and it was moist and flavorful and delicious. Curiosity peeked again.

I've been tinkering with a few recipes for "meatloaf" using beef, turkey and chicken respectively, various spice blends and toppings to come up with an interesting yet traditional recipe that I can make for the whole family on a busy weekday. And finally last night -- SUCCESS! Even Ecaterina ate a big portion with no complaint.

I proudly give you:

Italian Style Turkey Meatloaf:

1 pound ground turkey
1 small white onion, diced small
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 medium (or 1 extra large) egg, lightly beaten
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes in oil, roughly chopped
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp Worcester sauce
1 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp - 4 Tbsp Italian style dried breadcrumbs
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the topping:
1 cup ketchup
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 heaping tsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp good balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan, and saute the onions on medium heat until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. When the onions are translucent, add the chicken stock and simmer until the liquid absorbs into the onions, creating like a saucy relish consistency. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

While the onions cool, place room temperature ground turkey (having it room temperature will allow it to mix better) in a large mixing bowl. Add a good pinch of salt (about 1/2 tsp - 1 tsp) and some black pepper to taste (I like about 1/4 tsp when making for kids). Add the eggs, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, basil, dried oregano, Worcester sauce, 1 Tbsp of ketchup and 2 Tbsp of the bread crumbs to start (you will add as needed, depending on how "wet" the onions are). Add the cooled onion mixture to the turkey and using your hands, mix well making sure to incorporate all the ingredients and distribute the egg evenly. But don't over mix! Mix just until all the ingredients come together.

Take a small amount of the mixture and try to form a ball like for a meatball. If the mixture feels too wet and cannot come together into a ball, but instead falls apart easily, you need to add more breadcrumbs. Add 1 Tbsp at a time until you get a wet and very moist consistency, but one that can just hold a form. If you make a mistake and add too much breadcrumbs and the mixture is dry and tough, add more chicken broth (cold) to the mixture until you get the right consistency. But truly, 2 Tbsp of dried breadcrumbs with maybe a pinch more should be just right.

Place the meat mixture into a loaf pan (no need to butter or spray) and spread out evenly on the top. Set aside. (At this point, if you plan to bake it later, cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate until ready to bake)

To make the topping, mix together the ketchup, mustard, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Spread evenly on top of the meatloaf mixture in the baking pan and then bake in oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

Start checking the meatloaf about 45 minutes into it. When the edges of the pan begin to caramelize (don't worry if it burns even just a little...that's the sugars of the topping caramelizing) and when you shake the pan and the meat doesn't giggle but instead stays firm, then you know it's ready.

Remove and let cool 5 minutes before slicing.

Serve with garlic-rosemary oven roasted potatoes and steamed broccolini.

1 comment:

bonnie said...

I might be able to do this one... but what do you do for onion allergies? how does anything turn out minus the onions?? 'sigh' I love onions...