I don’t want to feed my family too much beef, and when we do eat it, I’d rather serve a small cheeseburger or a good steak than a dish where the beefiness is covered up by other ingredients.
Adding sautéed and finely chopped mushrooms, onions, carrots makes ground turkey a succulent substitute for ground beef for a wholesome version of a diner favorite. While I’m generally opposed to “sneaky” recipes à la Jessica Seinfeld, I am happy to get some potassium-rich ‘shrooms into the kids.
The umami provided by the one-two punch of mushrooms and Worcestershire can stimulate kids’ appetites for this high-quality protein main dish. The glaze is simple to make and enough like ketchup that it’s good for dipping.
I’ve adapted this recipe from Gourmet for the meatloaf itself, and I use the sauce / glaze from one of their traditional meatloaf recipes. My version is a double batch, so bake half the meatloaf mixture and freeze half. It does take some time to make, so getting two meals out of it makes sense.
3 cups chopped onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium carrots, chopped
1-1/2 pounds cremini mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
1/2 teaspoons salt
ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup ketchup
2 cups fine fresh bread crumbs (from 2 slices firm white sandwich bread)
2/3 cup 1% milk
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/4 pound ground extra lean ground turkey (all white meat)
1 1/4 pound ground turkey (mix of dark and light meat)
1 small can tomato sauce
1 small can water
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup yellow (ball-park) mustard
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Cook onion in oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened. This goes more quickly if you cover the skillet after the onions have started cooking, then uncover to let the water evaporate and get a bit of carmelization going. Add garlic and carrot and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Cover again to speed up softening, and cook while you clean and chop the mushrooms. Give a stir every several minutes to keep mixture from burning on the bottom.
Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, covered until the mushrooms have released a fair amount of liquid. Uncover and turn up heat to medium-high. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated. Stir in Worcestershire sauce and ketchup. Turn off heat.
Stir together bread crumbs and milk in a large bowl and let stand 5 minutes. In the meantime, put the vegetable mixture in a food processor and finely chop it. Stir eggs into the bread crumbs and milk, then add vegetables. Add turkey and mix well with your hands. (Mixture will be very moist.)
Form half the mixture into a 9- by 5-inch oval loaf in a lightly oiled 13- by 9- by 2-inch metal baking pan. Freeze the other half*. Bake in middle of oven 15 minutes while you make the sauce.
Whisk sauce ingredients in saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring until sauce comes to a boil. Reduce heat and baste meatloaf with just enough sauce to coat it. Simmer sauce another five minutes to thicken.
Baste meatloaf with the sauce every fifteen minutes until thermometer inserted into meatloaf registers 170°F, a total cooking time of 50 to 55 minutes.
Let meatloaf stand 5 minutes before serving with remaining sauce on the side.
*Frozen mixture needs about 36 hours to thaw in fridge. I think it would be risky to thaw this on the counter after so much handling of ingredients. That would defy what food safety experts recommend and common sense.
I'm always glad when I can get two meals out of one cooking session! It makes the recipes that are a little more time-consuming seem worth it.