Meatloaf has a bad rep; in fact, it’s probably one of the most classically loathed dishes in American pop culture. Picture Roseanne Barre cackling over a stove while DJ and Darlene groan in the background. But like every childhood horror- broccoli, brussels sprouts, and spinach- it’s all in the execution. So if you’ve ever eaten bad meatloaf, blame the cook, not the dish.
In its true form, meatloaf should be moist, well seasoned, and delicious. It’s rather like eating an oversized meatball. The trick is to get as much moisture and flavor into it as possible, by way of fresh herbs, deep aromatics, and even plain old tap water.
Instead of using a standard ketchup topping, I decided to do something fancier, which really means I used commonplace ingredients and worded them in a pretentious way. Balsamic glazed caramelized onions are what make this sauce unique. The trick is to incorporate part of the sauce in the actual meat mixture itself. Plain tap water, a method used in making meatballs, gives it incredible moisture.
Everyone loves a good garlic mashed potato dish, but not everyone makes it correctly. If you’ve ever raved about a mashed potato dish at a restaurant, it’s probably because the ratio of butter and cream to potatoes was about 1:1. Rich, I know. But half-and-half can be a worthy substitute. The trick is to alternate applications of cold butter and hot cream to set the perfect texture.
1 large yellow onion (diced)
3 sprigs thyme leaves
1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 lb ground turkey
handful parsley (chopped)
3/4 cup plain toasted breadcrumbs (unseasoned)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Ingredients for Garlic Mashed Potatoes
1 lb yukon gold or red potatoes (halved)
2 cloves garlic (grated)
1 1/4 cup half-and-half
3 tablespoons butter
In a large pot, over medium heat, add two tablespoons olive oil. Once oil is hot, add onions and season with a pinch of salt. Then add thyme leaves and crushed red chili flakes. Mix well and cook for about 10-15 minutes or until onions are caramelized. Then add two of the three cloves garlic (reserving one for later) and cook for about a minute before adding balsamic vinegar. Mix well and add 1/2 cup ketchup, cooking for another minute or two before removing from heat. Check for seasonings and season with salt and pepper if desired. Then let cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, parsley, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, remaining clove of minced garlic, and olive oil. Moisten with tap water and mix again. Once sauce has cooled, add half of it to meat mixture, reserving other half for topping. Mix well and set aside for about thirty minutes. Then pre-heat oven to 375, form meat mixture into a loaf shape, and place on greased baking dish. Spread remaining sauce evenly over the top and bake for 35-40 minutes.
For potatoes, halve each potato and boil in well salted water for about 12-15 minutes or until fork tender. Drain in colander and set aside. If you have a ricer, or a food mill, pass potatoes through it to achieve a flaky texture. If not, you can use a large sided grater and achieve the same effect. This will result in a creamier mash so it’s worth the effort. Flake potatoes into cooking pot and add grated garlic. Heat half-and-half in microwave for about a minute. Then alternate applications of hot cream and cold butter until you set the perfect texture. Season well with salt and pepper.
Once meatloaf is cooked, slice evenly and serve alongside or on top of mashed potatoes. Enjoy!