Updated: Mar 15, 2020
Turkey meatloaf with tons of veg, and grain free. We never had meatloaf for dinner as a kid, so it was always a treat when I get it at a friend's house or Southern diners. It felt like fun, rustic, adventure food.
I've taken the bread crumbs away to keep that lighter, cleaner feeling of full, but added some bacon and bacon drippings to flavor up the lean ground turkey. Loading it up with veg also keeps it juicy and tasty. This is fun to mess with - adding flavors and veggies you like. Pease and corn? Sure. Roasted red pepper...absolutely. Shredded zucchini ? You bet. Diced cooked pumpkin... Why not? Red pepper flakes? yessss.
Here are the basics, and feel free to go wild.
4 slices bacon
1 1/2 medium onions diced fine 3 carrots sliced thin or diced
4 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic (or garlic powder to taste) 48 ounces ground turkey salt and pepper to taste 1 turn white wine Dash Worcestershire 1/4 cup ketchup (Heinz is gluten free) 1/4 cup marinara (or to taste)
In a large pan, cook off 4 slices of bacon over medium heat. (And this is the Only time I'll ask you to do this.... Please... Bake your bacon. Bake. Your. Bacon.) Drain on paper towels when done, or almost done. Drain off half the drippings. Back on the heat.
In the same pan, load in all those diced onions. Stir them up in all that flavor. Season with salt pepper and garlic. Cook until they're translucent. Add in the carrots and celery and cook until the onions have a bit of caramelization around some edges for that extra bit of flavor. ***Cook books Lie! It's not 5 minutes. It's not 10 minutes. It's how ever long it takes to get them cooked and just a wee bit of caramelization on the edges. Keep cooking.
Deglaze when they're right, with a turn of white wine. Get up all the flavor from the bottom of the pan then take it off the heat and transfer them to your baking dish to cool down. Add in the ketchup and marinara. *Optional : a dash of chicken stock
To the ground turkey, season with salt, and pepper
Add in egg and mix. Gently! Add in the crumbled bacon, if you so choose. (do it...live dangerously) When the veg have cooled enough to handle, add the meat into the mixture and fold together.
Easy! Don't blend it or it'll be a brick. Just gentle.... nice nice.... (as Brad would say in the Bon Appetit kitchen) *In this shot I've used purple, orange and yellow carrots.
Form it into a even, level shape. I don't like to smooth the top, it'll usually crack anyway and who wants that noise? I love a bit of texture and brown bits on top. So I go over it once more with fingers. gently, like I'm poking focaccia.
Into a preheated 350 oven for 1 1/2 hours.
Make sure and test that the middle is done. And serve with a blend of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Or whatever you want, it's your meatloaf.
Enjoy yer meatloaf. Y'all. It's even better the next day.
Or add ketchup/ worcestershire mix on top to bake. Super tasty. Enjoy!