This week's menu was turkey meatloaf, baked sweet potatoes and tossed salad with blackberries and cashews -- and a bowl of canned soup for my teenaged daughter who declared herself unwilling to choke down even a bite of what looks to her like dog barf. She has held this opinion for many years now -- but this Sunday marked an important transition for her. She was persuaded to have a nibble, decided my meatloaf was perhaps better than dog barf or even canned soup, ate a whole slice and then had seconds. And has since been caught picking at the leftovers straight from the fridge.
So, while it's undeniable that this dish does resemble dog barf (which for the record, my dog would happily eat), I think we can all agree it must in fact taste much, much better. Which it does.
This is another one of those recipes that I make slightly differently, depending on the availability of ingredients and/or my mood. It's equally delicious served hot on a cold winter evening or cold in a sandwich on a hot summer afternoon. It's even good for breakfast, and apparently also tasty straight out of the Tupperware in the fridge for a bedtime snack. It's adapted from the turkey loaf recipe my wonderful former neighbor Eileen Edson used to make and from the classic meatloaf recipe in my ancient copy of the Better Homes and Garden cookbook.
The measurements below are the American-style ones, but I just found this great website that tells you how to convert the measurements, depending on where you live. If I have time tomorrow I'll have a go at a metric/celsius version.
For the loaf:
1 or 2 eggs, lightly beaten (depends on how gooey you like it)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats OR bread crumbs OR cooked rice OR other filler kind of stuff
2-3 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup catsup (can vary to taste)
1 onion, grated
2-3 ribs celery, finely chopped
2-3 carrots, shredded
Or whatever combo of veggies you have in your fridge and like
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning or some sage or whatever seasonings you prefer
1 pound ground turkey (I normally use the extra lean ground turkey breast, but you can really use any ground meat, including combos of different ones)
For the topping:
1/4 cup catsup
2 T brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all the ingredients for the loaf EXCEPT the ground turkey in a large bowl. Lightly mix in the turkey (if you over-stir it, it gets tough). Spray a loaf pan with Pam, then dump the dog barf, I mean meat mixture, into the pan and pat it smooth.
Mix the extra catsup and sugar in an old coffee mug and smooth it over the top.
Pop the pan in the oven uncovered and bake for 1 hour and fifteen minutes (at 350 degrees F).
It is tricky to get slices out of the pan in one piece. On occasions when I have guests who don't mind an entree that looks like dog barf cut in slices, I'll line the pan with baking parchment before I put the mixture in. Then I'll let the loaf sit for 15 minutes after cooking and lift it out using the parchment paper. It will then slice rather neatly. (But this is too much bother for ordinary family meals, especially given the usual rejection of it, however it looks.)
The only problem with my daughter learning to like this is that there will now be much less left over for my lunches. And that's bad, because this is insanely good in a sandwich on homemade Swedish sour rye bread - which you can find my favorite recipe for here.
I'm drooling already and will have to go hide the last couple meatloaf slices and get up early tomorrow to bake bread.