Monday, October 21, 2013
Sausage, vegetables give turkey meatloaf recipe an Italian accent
I usually regard ground turkey as a somewhat healthier and less tasty substitution for ground beef, but a recent restaurant meal convinced me that ground turkey could reach higher heights. The chef mixed ground turkey with Italian sausage and sautéed vegetables, elevating what could have been an ordinary meatloaf into a dish that was unusual, flavorful, moist and nicely textured.
I think the restaurant used pork sausage, but I decided to lighten my loaf by using turkey sausage and ground turkey breast along with ground turkey thigh. (I bought the meat at Whole Foods, where I knew freshly ground turkey and freshly made sausage are always available in the butcher case.)
I stirred in a favorite combination of vegetables – onion, bell pepper, mushrooms and tomatoes – but many other veggies could be substituted or added. Try a few leaves of spinach and some chopped fennel or grated carrots, for example. The variations are easy and almost endless.
ITALIAN TURKEY MEATLOAF
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, minced
½ small yellow or red bell pepper, minced
4 ounces mushrooms, chopped
10 grape tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste
¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
1 pound ground turkey thigh
½ pound ground turkey breast
½ to 2/3 pound uncooked sweet Italian turkey sausage (2 large links)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a broiler pan with foil (for easy cleanup). Spray the top portion of the pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet, then add onion, bell pepper and mushrooms. Sauté, stirring frequently, until vegetables soften. Remove from heat; stir in grape tomatoes. Set aside to cool.
Beat egg and egg yolk lightly in a large bowl. Stir in bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Add ground turkey and sausage meat, removing the sausage from the casings. Mix gently but well. Add vegetables; mix gently until well combined.
Shape the meat into a loaf on the broiler pan. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the middle reaches 180 degrees, about 1 hour. Remove from oven; let sit for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.