How can you really stretch a pound of ground turkey? Easy...add a lot of bread to it or a lot of vegetables or both...and turn it into a hybrid of Shepherd's Pie & Meatloaf.
My mother loves meatloaf. I don't make it much - the idea of eating a baked loaf (or cupcake) of ground meat doesn't hold much appeal. But I'm a guest in my mother's house and I will oblige her...and eat what I make. And if I make meatloaf, meatloaf I will eat.
In the last month we've made two versions - one heavy with vegetables (mostly carrrots, onions and peppers, with some mushrooms and flageolets thrown in) and the other padded with toasted (gf) bread. They were both good, but I'd recommend against the heavy carrot/onion/pepper route. It made the meatloaf a little sweet. Here's a picture of the veg mix prior to its addition to the ground turkey:
There was about as much of the veg mix as meat.
The resulting meatloaf resembled a through-the-looking glass version of country pate with a potato crust:
I form a gully in the middle of the meatloaf to facilitate more even cooking - it helps a little, though I think the presentation is more dramatic than the improved speed in baking.
The second version replaced the vegetables with GF bread. I added a little extra chicken stock for moisture - the bread needs to be moistened or the meatloaf can get very dry with the bread acting as mouth moguls - something to eat around.
I think meatloaf is a personal matter. I'm not going to provide a recipe - I change mine every time though there is some consistency with eggs, ketchup, and certain spices.
This was the most recent version we made - notice the stripe of potato? it runs almost to the bottom of the pan:
That's paprika on top - that's unsmoked, plain ole Hungarian paprika. I used thyme and a lot of sage - mom requested a 'Thanksgiving' flavor. It was delicious.
To really stretch your meatloaf, add more eggs, bread, and vegetables to the mix than you ordinarily would. You could throw in some ricotta, too. Test the flavor before you bake it by testing out a pinch in a saute pan. I always test everything - I don't believe you can get a true feel by eating the raw mixture (and with approximately 1/3rd of all turkey rumored to have salmonella, I don't want to take the risk) - so that I can balance flavors properly before I make some difficult-to-reverse underseasoning mistake.
The final key to stretching your meatloaf is potatoes - make your favorite mashed potatoes and spread them all over your meatloaf. Dust them with paprika or your favorite spice (or just lots of cracked black pepper).
So here they are, in convenient list form, my tips for stretching your meatloaf:
- The vegetable alternative: Chop up and saute onions, a few carrots, peppers and mushrooms - or any vegetable combination of your choosing. The cooked product should be about 2/3rds the volume of your meat/turkey.
- If you like beans, add in a half cup to a full cup of the beans of your choosing. I like mine pureed, but if you like seeing the shape of the bean in your meatloaf, leave it whole.
- The bread alternative: Add about 2/3rds the meat/turkey volume in stale bread chunks, dried out bread, or stuffing mix. Wet it down with a bit of stock - toss the bread in the stock but do not make it too soggy.
- The bread and vegetable alternative: add equal amounts of BOTH vegetable mix and in bread mix so combined they are the same volume as the turkey.
- The even more filler alternative: add the bread and vegetable alternative AND two extra eggs, which you have whipped to ribbon stage. If you want to get really crazy, throw in a half cup of drained ricotta cheese. I cannot guarantee you'll like it...you are entering territory that few dare to tread.
- The potato route: carve a gulley into the middle of your meatloaf. Fill the gulley with potatoes, and then cover the top of the meatloaf with potatoes.
Got other tips? Share them in the comments section