We are having the weirdest winter here in Dallas. The temperatures are all over the map - 72 one day, 42 the next, then back up to 65 for a couple of days, then a plummet to 38 – and they look to stay that way for the next few weeks to come. In addition to wreaking havoc on my allergies/cold/flu/whatever-the-heck-this-gunk-is, this rollercoaster weather makes it really hard to menu plan for the week; just about the time I’ve planned and shopped for all the soul-hugging comfort foods I’ve been dreaming of since July, we hit the 70’s and it’s goodbye Chicken and Dumplings and hello Hola! Fish Tacos with a side of sunscreen. Luckily I’ve got a few transitional recipes in my bag of tricks and this super moist and flavorful turkey meatloaf is a perfect example. It’s light enough to keep you on your New Year’s Resolutions and filling enough that all your comfort food cravings will be satisfied. Serve it with my Cauliflower Gratin and let the tummy hugfest begin!
Veggie Turkey Meatloaf with Balsamic Glaze
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
1 medium-large yellow onion, sliced into thin half moons
3 carrots, peeled and grated or chopped small
½ pkg Cremini mushrooms, chopped small
¼ cup canned artichoke hearts, chopped small or Artichoke Bruschetta
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
½ container feta cheese
1-1½ cups fresh bread crumbs (I used 3 pieces of wheat bread that I dried out in the oven)
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup milk (I use 2%)
½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1lb ground turkey (I use 97/3)
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Tony Chachere’s seasoning
Balsamic Glaze, see recipe below
Preheat oven to 425° F.
To caramelize onions:
Heat pan (do not use a nonstick pan) over med-high heat. Once hot, add 1 TBSP of oil and heat just until the oil starts to shimmer. Add onions. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over med-high heat for at least 30 minutes. You may have to alternate between med-high and med heat in order for the onions not to burn. You can add a little water to the onions when they start to look a little dry to keep them moist and from burning. Stir them occasionally, but not too much or they won’t brown. Once cooked, remove and set aside to cool. Once cooled, chop into small pieces and place in a large bowl.
For the loaf:
In the same pan you used for the onions, add the remaining 2 TBSP of oil and let come up to temp (med-high). Add carrots and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook for 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 3. Remove to the bowl and let cool.
Add artichoke hearts or bruschetta to the bowl.
Once veggie mixture has cooled, add the feta, bread crumbs, egg, milk, Worcestershire sauce, turkey and fresh herbs. Season with salt, pepper, Tony Chachere’s seasoning and a few shakes of Italian Seasoning. Combine with hands and form into a log shape on a baking sheet (I find that the more compact and tall I make a meatloaf, the less likely it is to be dry, especially with turkey) and bake for 45-50 minutes. Check meatloaf around 35 minutes in to see where it is in cooking. When almost ready, remove and coat with glaze and place back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
¼ cup Tomato Sauce (I like the one with oregano, basil, etc) or Ketchup
2-3 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar (start with 2 TBSP and then add a little at a time and taste)
2 tablespoons Honey
Combine in small pan and just warm through on low.