Saturday, January 2, 2010

Turkey Meatloaf

Growing up with an Asian mother, I managed to miss out on most of the "American classics."  I never tried homemade lasagna, real mashed potatoes (the only kind we ate in my family came from a box of dehydrated potato flakes that you cooked in the microwave), meatloaf, chicken pot pie, or any of the other things my friends ate regularly.  Not all of this was my mother's fault - I had a very picky sibling, and a moderately picky father as well.  My father was actually the reason we never had meatloaf.  Instead, we ate stir fry, Korean bulgogi, Vietnamese summer rolls, fried rice, homemade wonton soup, and pho ga (Vietnamese chicken noodle soup).

It wasn't until I moved to New York that I started trying to make up for lost time so to speak, and try out some of those American classics that I had missed out on while growing up.  However, I usually end up giving them something of a twist to suit my palate.  For instance, this turkey meatloaf was my attempt to use up a lot of produce in my fridge (a New Year's resolution of sorts), as well as to avoid the normal pitfalls of both turkey and meatloaf.  Turkey is often so dry because it is so lean.  And it also has a tendency to be flavorless.  I wanted something moist and full of flavor.  Meatloaf itself often seems very clunky to me.  I wanted something fresher - full of vegetables and fresh herbs.

Considering I have never made a turkey meatloaf in my life, I was very pleased with the results of this one.  My one complaint being that I wish it had more of a crust to it.  Maybe next time I will put it under the broiler for a minute or two to get it nice and crusty.  Otherwise, it was incredibly moist, full of flavor, and went wonderfully with the cranberry ketchup.  Usually when I try to substitute turkey for beef in a recipe I end up missing the richness and moistness of the beef, but I didn't miss it here at all.  The turkey was fresh and lovely pared with the vegetables and tartness of the cranberry ketchup.  The picture doesn't do it justice, but then again meatloaf is never pretty.

I served the meatloaf with watercress that I simply sauteed in evoo with minced garlic, s&p.  Delicious.

Recipes after the jump!

Turkey and Zucchini Meatloaf with Cranberry Ketchup

1 1/3 pound ground turkey
1/2 of a large red onion, diced (roughly 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 scallions, white parts and light green parts only, finely chopped
1 small zucchini, coarsely grated (roughly 1 cup)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup, plus 2 tbsp cranberry ketchup
1 tsp evoo

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and make sure that rack is in center of oven.  Place 8-inch saute pan on medium heat.  Add 1 tsp evoo.  Once oil is hot, add onions.  Saute for one minute, then add garlic and scallions.  Saute onion, garlic and scallions until softened.  Allow to cool.  Meanwhile, place ground turkey in a large bowl.  Add onion, garlic, parsley, thyme, zucchini, s&p, panko breadcrumbs, egg and 2 tbsp cranberry ketchup.  Mix well with your hands.  Mixture will be very moist, but if it is too moist and doesn't hold together, add more breadcrumbs.  Form mixture into a loaf approximately 8 x 4 x 2 inches on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Remove pan from oven, spread with 3 tbsp ketchup to form glaze over top of meatloaf.  Return to oven, bake for 20 minutes, or until meat thermometer inserted into center reads 165 degrees F.

Remove from oven, allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.  Slice, and serve with additional cranberry ketchup if desired.

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