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.
Hi, I am wondering if you wring out (for lack of a better term) the milk from the bread, or do you leave it very wet? I have made this recipe a million times, thank you, it is delicious, but I always want to ask this question!! My family always like pressed the milk out of the bread, and I menationed this to a friend and she was stunned that i didnt put the wet bread in as is. Thanks!
Great idea to use turkey for meatloaf! We’ve been trying to eat less beef. I guess you need the bacon since the turkey is so lean. We’ll have to try this recipe soon! Thanks!
I made this last night, but I used turkey bacon. It was so delicious! I will definitely make this again! My boyfriend couldn’t stop complimenting me!!!!! Thanks for the recipe!!!!
I accidentally doubled the amount of red pepper flakes and it gave the recipe a real (but not overwhelming) “kick”! I’ve made this 3 or 4 times now.
I made this for dinner last night with the intention of having leftovers for sandwiches today, but my husband loved it so much he inhaled the second loaf! Thanks for a great recipe!
I make this meatloaf maybe twice a month for dinner, and me and my husband LOVE IT. It’s a staple in our household. It’s my favorite thing to make, i’ve even memorized the recipe because i’ve made it so many times. Before I made this meatloaf I had never had meatloaf at all before, and now I’m totally hooked! Although, whenever I order meatloaf in restaurants now, it’s never even close to how good this recipe is.
WoW ! Look Awesome
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This was fantastic first time making meatloaf…won’t be the last! Dubious husband was very impressed!
It looks so goooooooood. but ground turkey is impossible to get in Australia. turkey in general seems to only be a Christmas thing, and then as a whole bird for roasting. substitution suggestions?
Just made this, and while I was a little skeptical especially after never using ground turkey before it was a hit! I never should have doubted you Joy, my family loved this and I can’t wait for sandwiches tomorrow!
I have made this a couple of times now – it makes a perfect Sunday night dinner with enough leftovers to fill in lunches through the week. I usually use plain old sliced bacon cut into 1/2 inch bits, so I’ve found that I need to cook the bacon about 2/3’s of the way done before adding the onion (otherwise I end up with burned onion).
I’ve made it with parsley and with fresh thyme. It’s really delicious both ways. Last time, I used a mix of thyme and fresh spinach to sneak in some extra greens. The glaze is really the best part (but don’t tell the bacon). Thanks for such a versatile and fool-proof recipe.
joy, this meatloaf was amazing!!! you’re amazing! the flavors were out of this world. i cook so many things from your blog but rarely leave a comment. keep the good stuff coming.
First time meatloaf-maker here! After comparing this recipe to other meatloaf recipes, I subbed ground beef instead of turkey, used 1 cup seasoned stuffing mix instead of the bread slices and added about a tablespoon of fresh parsley to the mix. It came out AMAZING! My boyfriend and I thought that making a little extra sauce to have on the side would have been nice. It was so good, definitely will repeat!
Well DAMN!!!! Not only was this easy to make but shit it tasted AMAZING as well!! Thank you!