I’ve had a bee in my bonnet for the last few weeks. The bee in my bonnet was meatloaf shaped and dang persistent.
I’ll be the first to admit that meatloaf is kind of a weird thing to make these days. Is it retro cool or vintage chic yet? Or is it still just… meatloaf?
This meatloaf features ground turkey, crispy cooked bacon, deeply caramelized onions, and softened garlic. It’s lighter than a beef meatloaf but boy of boy does the bacon pull off a miracle in this meatloaf. It’s all the salty and savory I needed to calm the bee in my bonnet.
I imagine that if I had an actual bee in my bonnet, it would be far less delicious and basically a panic situation. But really, why am I wearing a bonnet in the first place? Asking for trouble.
Let’s start with chopped onions, garlic, and chopped bacon in a sauté pan. It’s a very good beginning!
It would be so tempting to take a fork to this browned goodness, but that would be a mistake. That would be where this recipe starts and ends. It’s hard to resist spoonful after spoonful. Friendly warning.
Torn bread bits are soaked in milk helping to keep the meatloaf light and not so dense. Beaten eggs will help bind the loaf together.
Loaves are shaped, rustic style, on a lined baking sheet. I cut bacon slices in half and draped them over the unbaked loaves. The extra bacon will help keep the meatloaf moist and delicious while the fat absorbs into the meatloaf. Trouble, right?
Ketchup, dijon mustard, and a bit of brown sugar are combined in a saucepan and then generously…. seriously generously brushed over the unbaked meatloaf. It’s a delicious protective coating that will caramelize in the oven.
After baking the meatloaves (is that a thing?) are browned and rich. You can enjoy the same day oooorrrrr refrigerate the loaves, slice them thick the next day and make cold meatloaf sandwiches. This recipe makes plenty of portions for a warm meatloaf dinner (with mashed potatoes and gravy like whoa!) and a few sandwiches the following day.
For cold meatloaf sandwiches, I combined toasted white bread, spicy mustard, and big wedges of iceberg lettuce. The perfect sandwich situation.
Turkey and Bacon Meatloaf
makes 2 small loaves
2 slices soft white bread, torn into pieces
1 cup whole milk
1 large yellow onion, diced.
1 cup diced raw bacon, plus 3 strips of raw bacon cut in half for cooking the loaf
1 clove garlic, minced
2 pounds ground turkey breast
1 large egg, beaten
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
For the Glaze:
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs and milk. Set aside so the bread can absorb the milk.
In a medium skillet over medium heat, stir together the diced onion, minced garlic, and diced bacon. Allow to cook down and brown until the entire mixture is well browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl combine ground turkey, egg, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Add the milk soaked bread and discard any remaining milk. Add the cooked onions, garlic, and bacon. Stir together with a large spoon until the mixture is thoroughly combined.
Divide the mixture in half and form each portion into an oblong mound on the prepared baking sheet. Top with the bacon strips.
To make the glaze, combine ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir together until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is just starting to boil. Remove from heat and use a pastry brush to paint a thick layer of glaze onto each loaf.
Bake the meatloaf for about 1 hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. Allow the loaves to rest for about 20 minutes before slicing and serving. Meatloaf can be served warm from the oven or cold from the fridge.