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Beat this, Betty Draper: Turkey Meatloaf

turkeymeatloafGround turkey is a staff-of-life staple in my kitchen–easy protein that can go into chili, get mooshed into burgers, or jacked up with bacon and sauteed veggies for a modern twist on that American classic, meatloaf.

Now, anything with the suffix -loaf is generally suspect in my book, but this is a savory supper that screams nostalgia without the narsty packaged nonsense that “revolutionized” cooking fifty years ago. No convenience foods here, kids, but it’s still an easy, homey dish that evokes Mad Men-style memories without the icky stuff (Velveeta, injustice, etc).

The whole saute and process routine may seem like a bit of a palaver, but I’ve done this everywhich way, and precooked veggies and raw bacon is TOTALLY the way to go. Trust me. The apple is a stealth ingredient, adding a subtle flavor and fragrance that sets off the salty bacon and–let’s face it–the blandness of the turkey.

Turkey Meatloaf for a New Millennium
Yield: 4-6 dinner servings

2 tsp vegetable oil
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
1 med. onion
1 apple
5-6 slices bacon
1 1/4 c fine bread crumbs
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs ketchup
1 tbs rubbed sage
1 lb ground turkey (93/7)
3 tbs ketchup (to top)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a lipped baking sheet or jellyroll pan with lightly oiled foil.

Roughly, but evenly, chop the carrot, celery, onion, and apple. Mince the garlic.  Place in large saucepan with the vegetable oil and saute over medium heat till the apples and onions are tender, about ten minutes. Stir occasionally, but leave mostly covered when not stirring.

While the vegetables are cooking, dice the bacon into 1′ pieces. Place bacon in the bowl of a food processor and process til finely minced. When vegetables are cooked, add to processor and pulse a few times til roughly minced and thoroughly combined with the bacon–you should still see identifiable vegetable bits, but they should be small.

In a large bowl, use your hands to thoroughly combine the vegetable bacon mixture with breadcrumbs and seasonings.  Using your hands, gently work in the ground turkey till homogenous.

On the oiled, foil-lined baking sheet, form the mixture into a log about 4″ by 10″ by 3″ log. Spread lightly with ketchup and bake in preheated oven for about an hour. Clear juices will be pooling beneath the meatloaf (along with some crusty sticky stuff too).  Let stand a few minutes and then use the foil to transfer the meatloaf to a cutting board. Serve forth with some form of potato, a green vegetable, and martinis.

Notes & Variations
For something with a bit more spice, swap out half of the ketchup (both in the mix and for the topping) with Sriracha hot chili sauce.

5 Responses to “Beat this, Betty Draper: Turkey Meatloaf”

  • Tim says:

    as the official taster for the blog, let me emphasize how clever the addition of apples is – it’s the kind of thing that makes you stop and think about the dish again since it’s not exactly what you’d expect – the perfect foodie surprise

    and it does indeed do well at mopping up the odd Martini :-)

  • Scott says:

    I will take any odd martini’s you don’t want Tim!

  • Charlie says:

    Luke, this looks absolutely wonderful! Totally not the tomato-paste meatloaf I grew up with, but what do ya expect. Coming from Pittsburgh, Heinz ketchup was put into EVERYTHING!

  • WonderTwin 1 says:

    About to bring this to bear on the upper west side. Wish me luck! Oh and I know this is sacrilegious but can I omit or substitute something for the bacon?

  • luke says:

    Hrm… the bacon is kind of important in a lubricative role. Subbing in a diced chipotle in adobo would be nice for flavor, but you might want to do half turkey and half ground beef if you want to omit the bacon. Honestly, you’ll want to at least double this for your gang anyway, so half n half would be easy to do.

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