Make Ahead

Dinner Party Meatloaf

March 11, 2010
1 Ratings
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

Last November I found myself chuckling out loud while reading about a Thanksgiving dinner showdown between New York Times food writers Kim Severson and Julia Moskin. Kim was all bird and dry-brine while Julia rallied for the desserts and sides. Each cook accompanied the article with her evidence of why her piece of the meal was best. One such substantiation was Kim’s recipe for “Two-Way Chanterelle and Pear Stuffing,” which I made along with a turkey for my Thanksgiving feast. The turkey was good but the stuffing definitely won the battle. Now that meatloaf is on the table at food52, I’ve decided that a turkey meatloaf is the perfect way to make amends between bird and breadcrumbs.
I wish I could take full credit for this recipe, which is fit to serve at the fanciest of dinner parties or the most humble of family meals, Kim’s recipe, however, was my inspiration. (Find Kim’s stuffing recipe here: *This recipe would also yield great appetizers if rolled into meatballs and baked for a shorter amount of time. —gabrielaskitchen

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 cups rustic or Italian style bread
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 ounces Pancetta (about 1/2 cup diced)
  • 1 stick or 1/2 cup unsalted butter (divided into four, 2 tbs. chunks)
  • 1 small red onion(1/2 cup diced)
  • 1-2 shallots(1/2 cup diced)
  • 1/4-1/3 pounds oyster mushrooms, stems removed (3/4 cups diced)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 D'Anjou pear (1 cup diced)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 1/4 - 1 1/3 pounds lean ground turkey
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • Large cast-iron skillet (DO NOT use a non-stick or teflon pan! You want to end up with a fond (brown bits) to deglaze (use liquid (red wine) to make a pan sauce)! )
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Tear bread into about 1 centimeter size pieces, removing the crust. Spread bread on baking sheet and place in oven for 5-7 minutes until slightly toasted. Remove from oven and set aside in a medium-size mixing bowl. Evenly pour ¼ cup milk over bread in mixing bowl.
  2. Now, prep all of the ingredients that will be sautéed in batches. The following should be diced into approximately ½ centimeter pieces and kept in separate pep bowls: pancetta, red onion, shallots, oyster mushrooms, and pears.
  3. Cook the pancetta in a large skillet on medium heat, slowly and steadily until fat is rendered and pancetta is slightly crisp, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from skillet and add to medium size mixing bowl with the bread.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet and cook the red onion and shallots on medium heat until transparent, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from skillet and add to the mixing bowl.
  5. Add 2 more tablespoons butter and the mushrooms to the skillet and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. And as Ms. Julia Child used to say: “Don’t crowd the mushrooms or they won’t get brown!” (You may have to cook in two batches, depending on the size of your skillet). Add to mixing bowl.
  6. Now deglaze the pan by adding ½ cup red wine to the skillet. Cook on medium heat while scrapping the brown bits off the bottom with a wooden spoon until the wine has reduced by about half. Evenly pour reduced wine in to mixing bowl.
  7. Add yet another 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet. Sautee the diced pears plus 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly dispersed on medium high heat until they begin to caramelize slightly. Add to the mixing bowl.
  8. Combine ground turkey plus the herbs, lemon zest and salt to taste (about 1/2 - 1 teaspoon) to the the mixing bowl ingredients and knead for about 1 minute, until fully incorporated.
  9. Lightly butter a loaf pan and transfer meatloaf mixture to the pan. Sprinkle the top of the meatloaf with breadcrumbs and any remaining diced pears (optional).
  10. Cook at 450 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, return to oven at 325 degrees for 20-25 more minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • rob
  • lastnightsdinner
  • mcs3000
  • gabrielaskitchen

7 Reviews

rob April 16, 2020
I had it tonight with green beans and mashed pumpkin. With all the other ingredients it is certainly very moist but this might be because of the huge amount of butter used to cook the ingredients. It certainly stretches turkey mince a long way.
An easy recipe which might be more of a weekend rather than a weeknight meal as it is a little time consuming.
fwy March 16, 2015
I just made this tonight and since it was last minute, I had to make some substitutions. But I have to say this is a PHENOMENAL recipe. I don't even want to call it meatloaf because it is so amazing and more like restaurant-gourmet fare. I didn't have a pear so sautéed diced apple with the sugar and put Udi's gluten free sandwich bread into the toaster (end pieces) and broke them into small pieces. I also added fresh chopped parsley to the onion sauté. I didn't have mushrooms or shallots on hand and used diced red and yellow onions instead. I loved how you keep adding the ingredients to the mixture bowl. My husband and I ate half of the meatloaf on our own and he couldn't stop raving. I can't wait to serve this at my next dinner party - my guests will be clamoring for the recipe! Thank you!!! P.S. I made the Food52 Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Chili, was a perfect accompaniment.
njsusan December 10, 2013
Trying this weekend for some serious foodie friends, more serious than I ... any ideas for the perfect sides?
lastnightsdinner March 13, 2010
Don't know if you saw but Kim tweeted a link to this today!
gabrielaskitchen March 13, 2010
Thanks so much for letting me know!
mcs3000 March 13, 2010
I can't wait to try your meatloaf recipe! The Thanksgiving smackdown between Kim and Julia was hilarious. My guests enjoyed my heritage turkey, but said Julia's stuffing was the best they ever had.

As you say: "It is a perfect way to make amends between bird and breadcrumbs." And with Kim since I also sided with Moskin - even though Kim's my favorite food writer.
gabrielaskitchen March 13, 2010
It's one of my all time favorite food articles, for sure. Turns out the stuffing was Kim's recipe, my memory failed me...the stuffing came with the bird! So without knowing it Kim hedged her bets and made the best part of the feast! Hope you enjoy the meatloaf; let me know how you like it when you do.