When I was younger I lived with my dad and he was the cook in our house. I don’t really remember a lot of the things he made but I do remember spaghetti carbonara (my favorite), the weird burritos he would make with deer meat and try to tell me it was beef so I would have to sit at the table for hours because I refused to eat them, and his meatloaf. Oh, and snack night. He would make a huge plater of crackers, cheeses, meats and things like pickles, and onions and we would make our own creations and just snack. Maybe that is why I would rather snack than have an entire meal. Hmm. Anywho, his meatloaf. Well, it left a lot to be desired. It reminded me of school cafeteria meatloaf and could easily pass as a hockey puck. Bleh. Yet another meal that would leave me sitting for hours at the dinner table until I could manage to choke it down.
As a result I hated meatloaf for years. Years I tell ya. When I was 13 I went to live with my mom, who is an amazing cook and taught me all I know, and I honestly do not remember her making meatloaf. Maybe her dad tried to poison her too with his. Maybe we are not made to like meatloaf. Until now that is!
A few years ago, after living in Scotland a wee while, I was wanting some home comfort and meatloaf popped in my head. After the trauma I suffered, I do not know why. But I decided hey, the concept of meatloaf is good. I like burgers and meatballs, which is really the same principle. So I set out making meatloaf and my lord I wish I had sooner.
For those who do not know, meatloaf is essentially ground meat that is seasoned with onions, and a few basic spices before it is baked in a loaf tin. You typically top it with ketchup, which becomes shiney and sticky during the cooking process, and then you slice it up and eat it! It is also usually made with beef mince, but this time I choose turkey. It was on sale and it is much better for you. I did worry that it would be to dry, thus recreating my dads hockey puck meatloaf, but no. I have a trick up my sleeve which kept this moist and to die for.
Funny enough I was talking to my mom on Sunday and I told her I had a pot of meatballs and sauce bubbling away. She then told me about the amazing meatballs she had made and the trick she used. Turns out, it was the same as my trick. Great minds think alike so they say! It was actually my grandmas recipe that lead my mom to this idea, which leads me to letting you in on the secret.
Instead of using your typical breadcrumbs as a binder, I do what nanas (grandmas) all over the world have been doing for decades. I use milk and bread. Stale bread preferably, but if you are not organized, like me, and do not have stale bread to hand, you can toast two slices like I do. Once toasted, crumble it up to make coarse crumbs and then pour over 1-2 tablespoons of milk. Stir it up and let it sit to soak up the milk. I use this same technique for my meatballs, which are always moist and it has the most amazing flavor. Weird that bread and milk can produce such glorious results. Nanas know what they are doing!
While your bread and milk and getting to know eachother put your turkey mince in a bowl. Add in a dash of salt, pepper, diced onion, a touch of tomato puree and any other seasoning you would like. I added some garlic powder and thyme to mine.
Use the spoons you were made with, aka your hands, and smoosh it all together. Spray your pan and press the mixture in all snug. A few minutes before it is done, spread some ketchup on top and bake until it just starts to get stickey.
I do not have a loaf tin so I just used my brownie tin. Tastes the same no matter what size it is and it cooks much faster this way too. Oh and awesome side note, you can make burgers this way! Bake them in a pan, then cut into squares to fit your buns. No fiddling with making patties and they stay lovely and moist. Yeah I know.
Hello beautiful. I am so glad I have rediscovered meatloaf, and Alex loves it as well which is awesome for someone who never had it before! Also with a name like meatloaf, it is kind of hard to appreciate the beauty that it is. And even harder to capture that beauty in a photo. You will just need to make it and try for yourself. Pure comfort on a fork.
500g of mince turkey
1 small onion, or half of a large one, diced
2 slices of bread, toasted
1-2 tablespoons of milk
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tablespoon tomato purée
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons of ketchup for topping
Set oven to 200/gas mark 6. Toast your bread and then crumble into corse breadcrumbs. Drizzle over your milk, stir, and let set. In another bowl add your mince, diced onion, thyme, garlic powder, tomato purée, salt, and pepper. Add in the breadcrumbs you made and mix it up well. Spray your baking dish and then pat in your mince mixture until it reaches the edges.
Your dish will decide the baking time. If you have used a loaf tin, expect it to take 45-60 minutes to cook. If you have used a brownie tin like I did, it will take 25-35 minutes roughly. If you press the top of your meatloaf and it feels firm, it is done. The same as you would test a burger.
With 10 minutes to go on your cooking time, remove the meatloaf and spread on your ketchup. Return to oven to finish cooking. Once done, let it set 5-10 minutes so the juices redistribute. Slice and serve.
Any good childhood meal memories? Or horror stories like mine? Anyone rediscover a dish they once hated, but now love? Let me know your stories! 🙂