The Great Turkey Meatloaf Experiment of 2017

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Pictured: The loaf getting into the oven. Not pictured: Any other stages or the finished product.

I wanted to make a turkey meatloaf, but goddamn is turkey meatloaf terrible. Dry, tough, tasting mostly of bland poultry and salt—turkey meatloaf is basically the worst kind of “healthy” replacement foods. I thought what if it could be not dry and taste like something? There began Operation Turkey Meatloaf Experiment 2017.

So I threw together some ingredients, mostly orthodox but with some added moisture supports and flavor elements that tasted like something. It came out…good? I was surprised: It was supposed to be fine, but not good. Turkey meatloaf is not good. But this was. Damn. So, here, have a recipe that, for me at least, turned out quite good. Unfortunately for some, it may not be up to your dietary restrictions. I’m sure you could experiment for yourself.

1 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1-2 carrots, grated
1 t. fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 t. cayenne
3/4 c. panko bread crumbs
1/4 c. milk
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. salt
1/2-3/4 t. pepper
1 egg
1/2 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
2-3 T. Dijon mustard
7 oz. roasted red peppers, chopped (most of a 10 oz. jar)
1/2 – 1 c. fresh parsley, chopped
2 lbs. ground turkey
1/2 c. ketchup
1/4 c. molasses
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1/2 t. cayenne

1. Over medium-low heat in your favorite saute pan, cook the onion and carrot with a sprinkle of salt and olive oil until translucent and taking color. Took me about 10-20 minutes. I’ll never understand people who think they can cook onions in 2-4 minutes. Allow to cool.

1.5. This is a good time to get your oven going at 400 degrees.

2. In large bowl combine other ingredients. Maybe leave the turkey for last. Or not. I’m not your supervisor.

3. Mix in the onion/carrot mixture and turkey. I recommend using your hands with some gloves. Get it real good.

4. Put the (it’s going to be pretty wet) mixture into a loaf pan. You probably want to have sprayed some oil into the pan. Now, get out your sheet pan. Line it with aluminium foil. Plop that loaf pan upside-down onto the sheet plan and pull it off, hopefully leaving a loaf-shaped pile of meat on the pan.

5. In a little bowl off to the side, mix together the ketchup, molasses, sugar, vinegar and cayenne. Brush half of that (gently) on the loaf-shaped pile of meat you have there.

6. Insert your probe thermometer into the center of the meat pile and get it in the oven. Cook until it’s about 155 degrees, which took about 40 minutes in the experiment.

7. Pull out the meat and turn the oven up to 500. Brush the rest of the ketchup stuff on the meat, and when the oven is good and hot, put the loaf back in until gets some browning. Took me about 5 minutes.

8. LET THE GODDAMN MEAT REST. Give it about 15 minutes.

9. Eat the goddamn meat. Think: Well I’ll be goddamned. This isn’t actually that bad.

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