We were maybe going to go out for dinner last night (for a big fat change), but my husband was suddenly gripped by a summer virus. (Why does this always happen the minute I make a reservation?) So I was back to spelunking in the fridge for dinner possibilities.
I stumbled across the remains of a turkey loaf, which had been delicious on Wednesday. It was now Sunday, and, not being as well-acquainted with the breeding habits of bacteria as I should be, I wasn’t sure if the loaf was trustworthy. I gave it the scratch ‘n sniff test and then, still uncertain, I ate a bite, figuring I’d take a bullet for my family. If I dropped dead from bacterial poisoning, I would most likely not be serving them the turkey loaf. I’d make pasta instead. (My family does not accept death as an excuse for not cooking.)
I survived the sampling, served the loaf (sliced, on top of a salad) for dinner, and everyone was happy, especially me because I love getting two meals out of one cooking task. Here’s the recipe for the loaf that keeps on giving. It does require a fair amount of veggie choppage, but it’s worth it because you can recycle it four days later and not drop dead.
¼ cup olive oil (plus extra to oil the pan)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
½ red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 small zucchini, finely chopped
¼ pound cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 pounds ground turkey
½ cup ketchup, divided
2 teaspoons Worcestshire sauce
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Lightly oil a standard size loaf pan.
In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrot, bell pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 6-7 more minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add the parsley, thyme, salt and pepper and nutmeg and cook for another couple of minutes. Set the vegetable mixture aside.
In a large bowl, combine the turkey, eggs, 3 tablespoons of ketchup and the Worcestshire sauce. Add the vegetable mixture and mix very well. Spoon the mixture into the loaf pan and seal it tightly with foil. Place the loaf pan in a larger (9×13) pan. Pour boiling water in the larger pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Place it in the oven and bake for about 75 minutes. Remove the loaf from the larger pan, and remover the foil from the loaf, brush the top of it with the remaining ketchup and continue cooking for about 30 minutes, until the top of the loaf is glazed.
Remove the loaf from the oven (internal temperature should be about 160ºF) and allow it to rest for ten minutes before you sere it.