january 25, 2013
My favorite comfort meal has always been meatloaf and mashed potatoes. And my favorite meatloaf is made with ground turkey ( nice and creamy), sundried tomato, spinach and feta cheese. This colorful variation of the American classic makes frequent appearances on my personal chef menus for The Good Eats Company. Just for today we will call this a winter entree, but I enjoy it all year long, making it for myself when I start to miss its distinctive aroma.
Imagine my delight when I recently discovered local turkey and sundried tomato at the (very welcome) addition to my Northside Richmond neighborhood : Little House Green Grocery. Erin Wright and Jessica Goldberg are two hip chicks who operate this neighborhood store honoring local food artisans and growers in a funky little vintage shop in picturesque Bellevue. I have friends who walk a pleasant mile to Little House Green Grocery almost daily, deciding what’s for dinner based on what’s in store. As their lucky dinner guest last weekend, I was treated to a salad with micro greens, carrot and sundried tomato. Super fresh, and wonderfully local. I had already decided to make my meatloaf with pasture raised natural turkey from Tuckahoe Lamb and Cattle Company. The shelves at Little House yielded brown eggs from Frog Bottom Farm in Pamplin, Virginia and julienned sundried tomato from L’Esprit de Campagne in Winchester.
Although some prefer a free-form meatloaf baked on a sheet pan, ensuring a golden exterior crust, I like mine prepared in a loaf pan, so that the meat is bathed in savory juices and tender but for the crusty top. One of this blog’s subscribers requested that I occasionally offer easy recipes for folks who are time- challenged, or intimidated by recipes with unusual ingredients or multiple steps. Thus, you have meatloaf : throw everything into a bowl and bake for one hour. The finished product looks complicated but the getting there is easy. Meatloaf is like that.
Here are three tips for this and similar recipes :
- grind bread slices and ends of loaves in the food processor, storing in freezer safe containers for recipes calling for crumb topping, or for meatballs, meatloaves or vegetarian burgers; at all times there is a bag of gluten free bread crumbs in my freezer, ready whenever I need it
- you may use a ten ounce package of defrosted frozen chopped spinach instead of fresh, draining well before adding it to the meatloaf mix
- toss together all ingredients before adding the feta cheese, so that it stays in chunks
My favorite component of my favorite meal is mashed potatoes. While the meatloaf bakes, I simmer unpeeled redskin potatoes, mashing with butter and milk and sometimes augmenting with caramelized onion, roasted garlic or cheddar cheese. Heaven on a plate. I have made this meatloaf, and variations thereof, countless times, freezing individual portions for those times when I lack preparation for a proper meal. I admit to using the microwave in a pinch. Better that I eat nuked homemade meatloaf than grab something processed, I always say. And yes, meatloaf makes a most excellent breakfast.
turkey meatloaf with sundried tomato, spinach and feta
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
serves six to eight
10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves(or defrosted and drained 10 ounce pack of chopped frozen)
one large egg, room temperature
one medium clove garlic, grated
1.5 pound fresh ground turkey
1 cup fresh bread crumbs (gluten free if so desired)
1/2 cup chopped and drained oil packed sundried tomato
scant 1/4 t ground white pepper
scant 1/4 t fine sea salt
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add 1/2 cup water to medium saute pan, bring to boil, then add spinach leaves, turning with tongs until leaves are just wilted. Drain well and set aside to cool. Chop coarsely.
- In large mixing bowl, whisk egg with garlic.
- Add remainder of ingredients except feta, including spinach, and mix well by hand.
- Add feta and mix just to incorporate evenly.
- Place mixture in greased loaf pan and bake for one hour.
- Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.