Thursday, November 14, 2019

Turkey Meatloaf with Onion Gravy

I did not grow up in a household that served meatloaf for dinner. My grandmother and my mom, the two main cooks in our house, made predominantly Armenian food, so a lot of my childhood culinary memories include dishes like manti and Armenian meatball soup. I honestly can't remember the first time I tasted meatloaf. Although I hadn't made or eaten meatloaf in many years, I couldn't resist the appetizing turkey meatloaf on the dinner menu at the Grand Floridian Cafe at Walt Disney World during my recent visit to Orlando.

Grand Floridian Cafe's Turkey Meatloaf

Their poultry-based meatloaf is topped with a rich, brown, caramelized onion gravy, and served with smashed red bliss potatoes and broccolini. From the first bite to the last, I was in heaven. I suddenly remembered that I love meatloaf, but it's just been absent from my life for many years.

I knew immediately that I would recreate the turkey meatloaf with onion gravy in my own kitchen. Disney was unable to provide me with their recipe, so I just came up with my own! It's not an exact replica, but it's extremely juicy and flavorful, the epitome of winter comfort food on a plate.

I included grated carrot in my meatloaf to provide additional color, vitamins, and moisture. The sauteed onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup add layers upon layers of flavor. Ketchup is a common topping for meatloaf before baking it, but I deliberately left out this step as it was not the way Disney made theirs, nor would it compliment the onion gravy, which is just as important to the equation as the meatloaf itself in this case.

My onion gravy is a simple pan gravy with a boost of umami flavor from the savory flavor bomb that is Worcestershire sauce. My version was not as brown as Disney's, but it's also likely that they use some kind of a brown gravy base for theirs. Mine is simple, straight-forward, and completely from scratch. It's thick enough to hold its own on both the meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

My turkey meatloaf with onion gravy definitely triggers the same delicious memories of dinner at the Grand Floridian Cafe, but it's cheaper than a flight to Florida, and much quicker too! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did :-D

Turkey Meatloaf with Onion Gravy
Serves 8

Turkey Meatloaf:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey (97% lean)
1 large egg
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk or chicken broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Onion Gravy:
2 teaspoons olive oil or butter
1 medium onion, halved and sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

To make the meatloaf: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

Add the olive oil to a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the onion, carrot, and garlic, and saute for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl add the ground turkey, cooled onion-carrot mixture, egg, breadcrumbs, milk or broth, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, salt, pepper, and thyme. Mix together gently with your hands until ingredients are fully incorporated, but do not overmix. Shape the mixture into a free-from rectangular loaf shape on the prepared pan, measuring approximately 9-by-4-inches. Bake for about 60 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads 165 degrees F. Rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Meanwhile, make the onion gravy. In a medium saucepan heat the oil or butter over medium heat. Add the onions and a big pinch of salt. Cover the onions and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions sweat and are softened. Uncover and continue to cook for another few minutes, then dust with the flour, stirring to coat. Add the chicken broth a little at a time, stirring thoroughly between additions to ensure a smooth gravy without lumps. Raise the heat to high. Add the Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and salt and pepper. When the gravy starts bubbling, lower the heat to medium, and continue to cook for about 5 to 10 minutes until thick and flavorful.

Serve the meatloaf with mashed potatoes, and gravy drizzled over the top of both the meatloaf and potatoes.


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