Sure, the head flopping bits of foolish fowl make for bad burgers, and the sandwiches that we construct from them scream, “I’m in an interminable H.R. meeting and someone took the last roast beef on rye!” But ground dark turkey meat -- and to be clear that’s all I am talking about here – makes for some mean meatballs, and, when properly seasoned and gussied up, a mighty fine meatloaf too.
So, to recap: Turkey, it’s not bad.
So I am pleased to inform you that Spicy Turkey Meatloaf is perhaps the world’s most perfect take on meatloaf. Perhaps you, like me, tend to think of this dish as a largely Italian affair, a pound or two of meat dressed up with tomato paste, parsley and some aromatics. But what apartmentcooker has done here is give us a sort of Asian spin on the whole thing, to great results.
In the spirit of weeknight cooking, you can make this recipe all in one bowl, and even mix it up before you go to work, form the loaf, and fridge it ‘til cooking, if need be. I diverted from this path in only one way: I like to sauté my onions and garlic before tossing them into the meat, which I think offers a big enhancement for no real extra time commitment, because you can mix up the other stuff as you wait. (I did them in vegetable oil, though I do wonder, would sesame oil do?) I have tried it with plain breadcrumbs and panko, and the latter works a little better.
The first time I made this, my husband and I were deeply excited by the intensity of the flavors, and the kids found it a little spicy. The second time, I doubled it, gave one loaf to the neighbors and only glazed half of each, which pleased all the children, though the neighbor kids liked it hot.
Honestly, unless you are two people you will want to double this anyway because it is such a great sack lunch. I brought my last slice to my office mate, C, who could not stop talking about the cumin. “It’s so savory," he said as he ate it cold. Then he made a lot of murmuring sounds, and rooted around in vain for more. So will you.
Combine all ingredients for the meatloaf in a large bowl. Mix just to combine. If the mixture feels too wet, add more breadcrumbs.
Form the mixture into a loaf on a foil lined baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the glaze until well combined.
Brush the glaze all over the loaf (this is why I don't use a loaf pan, so that you can get maximum glaze action).
Bake in a 350 degree oven until cooked through, about 35-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and baste occasionally. If you like, you can run the finished loaf under the broiler and the glaze will form a bit of a crust.
By day, Jennifer Steinhauer, aka Jenny, covers Congress for The New York Times. By night, she is an obsessive cook.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).