Thursday, April 22, 2010

Turkey and Bacon Meatloaf by Tom

Tom Valenti's Turkey and Bacon Loaf by Tom

Monday afternoon a few weeks ago and it is my turn to cook again.  Barbara is off painting for the afternoon so I have the cooking duty.  While shopping at Wegman's we had found ground turkey was on sale and bought a couple of pounds of it.  At that point we had no good ideas of what we wanted to do with it.  But along from our bookshelf of cookbooks came Tom Valenti's cookbook "You Don't Have to Be Diabetic to Love This Cookbook" and a pretty clever use for gound turkey.  This recipe was so simple that, uncharacteristically for me, I followed it to a tee.  Well, almost!  This recipe proved to be not only easy to make, but very tasty as well.  I will definitely make this one again!

Here are the ingredients:
INGREDIENTS

2-4 slices of turkey bacon, cooked and coarsely chopped
1 small Spanish onion, chopped
1 large egg, beaten
1 yellow pepper, chopped (this was my addition to the recipe!)
3/4 cups dry unseasoned bread crumbs
2 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (this is a key ingredient in the seasoning of this recipe)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (Kosher salt works well)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (double the amount if you use fresh)
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon (double the amount if you use fresh)
2 pounds lean ground turkey
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Coarsely chop the onion and the yellow pepper.

Chop up the bacon and then put it into a hot large frying pan.  I used medium high heat. 

After the bacon has become soft and has rendered some of its fat, add the chopped onion and yellow pepper to the frying pan.  Cook until the onions have become translucent and both the onions and yellow peppers are soft.  No need to brown them.  This will take about 5-7 minutes.  Stir frequently.

Let the cooked bacon, onions and yellow peppers cool a bit in a large mixing bowl, about 10 minutes.  Then add the turkey, bread crumbs, mustard, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, thyme and tarragon to the bacon, onion and pepper mixture.  Beat the egg in a small bowl and then add that as well.  Make sure the cooked mixture is cool enough so that it does not start to cook the beaten egg when you add it.  Mix the entire thing up well.  You hands work best for this.  Put the well-mixed mixture into a loaf pan and the loaf pan on a cookie sheet to catch any drippings.  I found that unlike ground beef meatloaf, there is very little fat that is rendered if you start with lean ground turkey.

Into the oven goes the loaf pan with your turkey and bacon loaf mixture.  Plan on at least 50 minutes in the oven.  Key here is to make sure the center of the loaf is cooked.  Use an instant read thermometer and make sure the internal loaf temperature reaches 165 degrees.  This is one recipe that you do not want to undercook, so use your thermometer.  Food safety!  Once you are sure that loaf is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.

Slice the turkey loaf and serve.  I served this dish with a wild rice mixture and creamed spinach.  They complimented the taste of the turkey loaf nicely.
                       
                  -------Tom

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