Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf
The beauty of cooking is that you can put all of your own neuroses - all of your bizarre little notions of what's right and wrong with the world into your food. You are the king or queen of your domain, if only for the short time you spend in the kitchen. Of course, one can take this power too far - i.e. Sandra Lee's Corn Nut Kwaanza cake or Giada's infamous basil, brie, and chocolate panini...
This week, I applied my neuroses to meatloaf. For example, I don't understand putting bacon inside of it. It actually upsets me. The idea of a loaf of meat is mysterious enough without adding bacon to the equation. That said (drum roll for crazy), bacon on top of meatloaf is just dandy by me. You get all that bacon flavor infusing the meat as it bakes while the bacon itself becomes crispy and golden. Flavor + texture. Hooray for being a meat eater.
Another one of my beliefs is that ground turkey works as well (or better) than beef for this recipe. It's lighter, and not just in the calorie sense of the word, but in texture and weight, allowing the mustard and bacon and cheese to cut through. And while I've seen a lot of recipes that use mayonnaise, I can't even comment on that one. You already have an egg as a binder - would you like a side of heart attack with that?
A final note from me behind my podium... Always, always mix all of your non meat ingredients together for your meatloaf before adding them to the meat. And once you add the meat, use your hands. It's the only way to not overwork it, and even then, don't mush and mix until it's one solid, perfectly blended concoction or it will be tougher than a witches' heel. Particularly with this recipe - it's actually nice to bite into a little chunk of cheese or a ribbon of mustard here and there - just like eating a bacon cheeseburger.
What are some of your meatloaf hot buttons?
Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf
1 lb lean ground turkey
3/4 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar (such as Cracker Barrel)
1/4 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup minced shallots
good grating black pepper
2 tablespoons yellow (American) mustard
2 tablespoons ketchup
pinch kosher or sea salt
1 egg, whisked
4 slices bacon (preferably Applegate Farms 'Sunday' bacon)
Preheat your oven to 375 (350 if your oven runs hot.) Grease a medium rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the cheddar, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce, shallots, pepper, mustard, ketchup, salt, and egg thoroughly. Add the ground turkey, using your hands to blend it in until combined but not necessarily homogenized as one. Using your hands, sculpt the meat into a round shape, then sculpt until it's a rectangular lobe. Perfect shape isn't super import but uniformity does matter so that it bakes evenly so try and get it as uniform as possible. (If your mixture is too slippery you can either refrigerate it for 10 minutes so that it loses some of its mushiness or sprinkle in a pinch more of the breadcrumbs.)
Place on the prepared baking sheet, then place the strips of bacon over the top, long ways, patting them gently so that they 'stick' onto the meat.
Place in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes. When it's done, the pooled grease around the edges will have blackened (don't worry - your meatloaf is not burnt - actually slightly burnt cheesy edges are DELICIOUS.) The bacon should also looked crisped and golden, and slightly curled as if you'd fried it in a pan.
Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.