I have no idea why people think that ground turkey is a substitute for ground beef. Sure, with enough salt, Worcestershire, tomato paste or soy sauce you can make turkey an approximation of beef, but it just strikes me as…wrong. I get the whole less red meat/lower fat/don’t kill the cute animals thing. (Not that I understand it, but I hear you talking…) Why not let turkey taste like turkey?
My dear wife wanted turkey meatloaf. We have tried turkey meatloaf recipes in the past and that’s largely what produced the above tirade. So I thought I’d take another path and try to work with the flavor of the turkey instead of trying to make it into something that it’s not. Instead of bludgeoning the delicate flavor of the turkey meat into submission with umami ridden flavors, I thought why not use the tried and true flavors that everyone raves about at thanksgiving. (Don’t worry, November will be here before you know it. I will rock your world.) So I started with some turkey friendly aromatics, carrots, onions and celery. I added some ground thyme – always a winner with poultry, and then a touch of butter and garlic.
The feedback from my favorite testers was it’s really good, but the carrots were too much. (That was a winner in my book – this is a tough crowd). As always, you be the judge.
Thanksgiving Turkey Meatloaf
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat canola oil in heavy skillet or saute pan over medium high. Add the onion, celery, carrot, thyme, and bay. After 5 or 6 minutes, add salt, pepper, butter and garlic. Heat for 2 or 3 more minutes, until the butter is melted, remove the bay leaf. Scrape out the skillet into a medium bowl.
Add the turkey, egg, and cracker (bread) crumbs to the vegetable mixture. Mix well to combine then transfer meat into a loaf pan or baking dish. Form the loaf shape that you want in the pan.
If you want this to be more of a traditional meatloaf you can mix the ketchup, chili sauce and sugar and spread it over the top of the loaf. It’s just fine if you leave that out though.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes or so before cutting.