After a couple days of meals dominated fast food and convenience food, I always crave something homemade and wholesome. I don't want to go off the deep end and go raw food diet or anything like that but I know that something simple, scratch-made and balanced would hit the spot. I can think of few things better-suited to filling this mission than the venerable meatloaf. To lighten it up a bit, I decided to go with turkey meatloaf. Served up with roasted broccoli, roasted sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce to round out the meal, it was exactly what I was looking for.
For this meatloaf, I was shooting for a meatloaf that was savory, yet simple. I decided to flavor this with nothing more complex than sautéed onions, thyme, and a little garlic. The key to making it delicious was taking the time to sauté the onions long enough to really develop that savory onion flavor. I wasn't going for fully caramelized onions but cooked enough until the onions just begin to brown. Then, you throw the garlic and thyme in right at the end to bloom the flavors. Just make sure you let this onion mixture cool down before mixing with the ground turkey!
Another important step in making this, or any meatloaf, for that matter, is to not work the mixture too much. Use a light hand when you mix up the ingredients. You want everything to be combined but do it gently. It doesn't require mashing and squishing. Otherwise, you'll end up with a tough meatloaf.
Traditionally, meatloaf is topped with some variation of a ketchup-based glaze. I'm definitely not opposed to this. However, I thought a good accompaniment would be a simple, tart cranberry sauce, just like the kind you'd serve with your Thanksgiving turkey. Everyone has their favorite version, so make whatever style you like, even if it comes in a can. It's all good!
Ingredients: 2-1/2 lbs of ground turkey, 1 large minced onion, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs, 2-3 cloves minced garlic, 1/4 tsp dried thyme, olive oil, Kosher salt, ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and film the bottom with olive oil.
- Add the minced onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes or so until they begin to brown. Take your time to really develop the onion flavor.
- Add the minced garlic and dried thyme and cook for another 30 seconds to a minute.
- Set the onion mixture aside in a bowl to cool for a few minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey, breadcrumbs, eggs, the onion mixture, 1 tsp of Kosher salt and as much black pepper as you like.
- Line a rimmed sheet pan with foil and grease or spray the surface to prevent sticking.
- Take the meat mixture and form a loaf shape on the sheet pan.
- Bake in the oven for about an hour or until the internal temperature reaches 160°.
- Let the meatloaf rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.