Monday, April 29, 2013

From Erik's Kitchen: Turkey Meatloaf

So, normally on Mondays people would get to see me slog through another episode of My Little Pony.  However, due to some technical issues with the blogging software, that will have to wait for tomorrow (hopefully), so after fighting the coding and twisting things around, I decided it was time to take another look at something I enjoy cooking.

It's simple, it's fast, and dear god it's delicious, it's Giada De Laurentiis' turkey meatloaf with sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese.

Sigh.  Giada's so gorgeous.  And I'll admit, I love the way she emphasizes Italian words.


So, here's the basics:

I'm starting to incorporate turkey more often into my diet when I can find it cheap.  It balances great with outside flavors, and it can take two things that might not seem to go together (say, ginger and cinnamon) and help them work together.  But more on that around Thanksgiving.

For now, here's the ingredients you'll need:

1 bread loaf pan, standard size (that is, 9 by 5 inches, but I've worked with smaller and it's fine, just adjust the cooking time accordingly)

Vegetable cooking spray
     I'm really starting to dislike using this stuff.  If you can, cut a piece of parchment paper to the right size and stick it to the bottom of the loaf pan.  Then it won't stick, the loaf will pull away from the sides, and it'll come right out.
 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs 
      This is one of the few times you'll see me recommend plain over panko.  Plain just works better to hold meat together.
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
     Flat-leaf only.  Never the curly.  Curly is only good for one thing: decorating plates.
1/4 cup chopped garlic and herb-marinated sun-dried tomatoes   
     If you can't find this, simply chop up some garlic and mix it with Italian seasoned sun-dried tomatoes.  I usually look for the ones in oil instead of just packed together.
2 cloves garlic, minced, optional
     This is aside from the garlic I mentioned above.  I usually add it, but then I like a slightly stronger taste of garlic, but really, it's still mild.
2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons whole milk
     It doesn't have to be whole.  I use skim or even non-fat.
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese 
     Buy it packaged this way.  I used to try buying non-crumbled, but it takes too much time to break up when I'm in a hurry to get dinner done.

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
     Have I talked about how much I love kosher salt yet?  No?  That's another post.

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

If you're feeling really brave? Chop up some basil, too, or leave out a bit of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes and mix in some pesto.
1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat
     Consult your meat department manager if you aren't sure based on what the package says.  If he isn't sure, find a new store.

So, here's the really complex instructions:

Preheat the oven to 375 with a rack in the middle.

Combine everything but the turkey in a bowl and mix it up.  Add the turkey and work it into one cohesive blob, but don't overwork the turkey.  You want it to stay meat, not become meat paste.

Pack the mixture into the bread pan (you put the parchment paper in it, right?) and pack it down.  Put that into the oven, and take out when the loaf has an internal temperature of 165.  You do own a thermometer, right?  It doesn't have to be fancy, it just has to a) be digital, because you want an instant read, and b) be safe to put into food.  Nothing that you test to see if your baby has a fever, okay?

Let it sit for five minutes in the pan outside of the oven.  Turn onto a cutting board, slice, consume, enjoy.

Oh, and don't forget to turn off the oven.

I usually put it on a platter if I'm serving other people, but if your cutting board is nice enough you can just use that.  I like to have fresh tasting vegetables when I do this, and I particularly like asparagus, salad with orange and avocado, or a carrot salad.

Bon appetit!

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