Meat loaf is one of those things that I have to be honest about. I've not mastered a great meat loaf. I made a version of my mother's and I thought it was okay, but the family didn't like it. As soon as they spotted me adding sour cream to it they already had formed their opinion. I tried again about four weeks ago using beef and attempting to make it like my employee did at my to go food restaurant using a bottled barbecue sauce. That was an epic fail and I tossed it out. I didn't think I would ever again attempt meatloaf until I found this Williams-Sonoma recipe for turkey meat loaf.
Let me say that I have adjusted the amount of fresh rosemary from two teaspoons down to one teaspoon in the ingredients list. Even for my rosemary loving pallet it was too much. I know fresh rosemary is very powerful but decided that making this the first time I would follow the recipe exactly. Another case in point that I should have followed my gut instincts. Other than that, I loved the overall flavor and texture and the ease with which it comes together. The only other thing I changed was to make a slurry with cornstarch and water versus making a roux with butter and flour for the gravy.
For the meat loaf:
- 1 1/4 lbs. ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/3 cup dried plain bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup onion - finely chopped
- 1/2 cup celery - finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. fresh parsley - finely chopped
- 1 tsp. fresh rosemary - finely chopped
- cooking spray
For the gravy:
- 2 tbsp. water
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 cups chicken or turkey broth
- 2 tsp. fresh sage - finely chopped
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 350°.
- Lightly spray your 9 x 13 inch baking sheet.
- In the bowl combine the egg, tomato paste, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper until fully incorporated.
- To that add in the ground turkey, bread crumbs, onion, celery, parsley and rosemary. Mix until just combined - do not overwork it.
- Scoop the mixture out onto the baking dish and form a loaf or circle.
- Bake in a preheated 350° about 1 1/4 hours or until the temperature registers 165°. You can take it out at 160° and it will raise to 165° as it rests.
- While it's baking, check to see if the cooking juices are threatening to burn and if so add 1/4 cup water to the pan.
- When finished transfer the meat loaf to a platter.
- If you are using a glass baking dish, as soon as you remove the turkey to a platter, pour some of the broth in and whisk around getting up all the good bits from the bottom of the pan. DO NOT put it directly on heat. (On the other hand if you are using a coated baking pan you can use it to make the gravy without transferring liquid to a sauce pot.
- Strain your liquid using a fine mesh strainer and add the strained liquid to a small sauce pot.
- Make a slurry mixture with the cornstarch and water.
- Bring the liquid up to a boil and whisk in the slurry mixture until the gravy thickens.
- Add in the chopped sage and simmer for a few minutes. Taste and adjust for any additional salt or pepper before serving.
Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cost: For the entire dinner (Turkey Meat Loaf, Mashed Potatoes and Carrots) is approximately $12.20, feeding four for $3.05 each
What I love about this recipe is that if you happen to get your ingredients on sale you save even more money. So look for ground turkey on sale, the broth, and the vegetables and plan on making this herbaceous meat loaf. While the weekend affords us more time in the kitchen, this meat loaf can be made ahead, wrapped, refrigerated and pulled out to cook any night of the work week.
I also think that this recipe is perfect for just two people to make at Thanksgiving. You get that Thanksgiving feel without the high cost and without having to fuss roasting a whole Turkey!