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hey turkey!

Recipe: turkey meatloaf

My first introduction to meatloaf was at the cafeteria in elementary school. It was brown, or rather gray and smothered in an equally nasty looking gravy. Honestly, it didn’t taste bad. It didn’t taste good either. We didn’t dig on meatloaf at my house. Not that we didn’t like it, we just didn’t know what the hell it was or how to make it. Ah, the joys of growing up Chinese in the American South. Meatloaf always maintained cafeteria status for me because that’s the only place I ever saw it. Eventually I learned what was in meatloaf when I got to college. Probably one of the best things I came away with from one ex-beau was the use of chili sauce and red currant jelly instead of ketchup for the sauce. Now, I like to use ground turkey instead of beef as a healthier take on meatloaf. I prefer turkey thigh meat if it’s available because it’s not as dry as breast meat.

pouring worcestershire sauce into the mix

I do get excited about having meatloaf for dinner because it’s a great wintertime meal and Jeremy loves it too. It’s even something he makes from time to time. You must understand that I’d only let him prepare a meal if he’s mastered it to my approval – otherwise… get outta my kitchen and lemme cook. I melt the red currant jelly in a sauce pan and then stir in the chili sauce. Yeah, I know – it smacks of white trash recipes, right? You find a combo like that for meatballs and all sorts of random Heinz product recipes. Well, I admit that my ex was from Kansas and his family ate strictly Midwestern – if that’s even a style of food…*snort*

mix a little sauce into the filling

I’m not sure why it’s even called chili sauce because it has nothing to do with chili or chiles as far as I can tell, but it’s handy and tomato-based. Oh stop looking so taken aback, I grew up in southern Virginia. I know my way around white trash food.

stuff it in a loaf pan and pour some sauce on top

There are so many variations on meatloaf. Admittedly, it’s not something I’ve explored much because this quick and dirty recipe has served me well thus far.

i especially love meatloaf with mashies

Turkey Meatloaf
[print recipe]

1 lb. ground turkey (I used thigh meat)
1/2 – 1 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
1/2 onion, minced
2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
4 oz. red currant jelly
1 jar Heinz chili sauce (or any chili sauce that has nothing to do with real chiles)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat red currant jelly in a small saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add the chili sauce and stir until combined. Mix ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, onion, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Pour about 4 ounces of the sauce into the turkey and mix well. Pack the mixture into a loaf pan and pour a cup of the sauce over the top. Bake for an hour. Serve with remaining sauce.

25 nibbles at “hey turkey!”

  1. Jen says:

    My stepdad (the baker) use to make amazing meatloaf. He would make the meat roll it out into a flat sheet layer cheese and tomato sauce on it and roll it up. Holy cow was it good!
    It’s going to be cold here in Florida this weekend (brrr.. 60s for the high :) ) I might just have to make meatloaf this weekend!

  2. manggy says:

    Chili sauce that has nothing to do with chilis?! That is weird. So it tastes like a tomato sauce? In any case, that looks so good and homey :) (I would add a chili chili sauce… just ’cause :)
    Have you ever heard of the Filipino version? Instead of Worcestershire sauce, currant jelly, and tomato sauce, we mix in pickle relish, whole or mashed Vienna sausage, and grated carrots. Then we hide whole hard-boiled eggs in the mash so when you slice the cooked terrine, you can see its cross-section in the slice :) Some people take it the extra mile and flash-fry the slices so they get a crispy exterior. Perfect with ketchup!

  3. peabody says:

    I will toatlly have to try it with the chili sauce. I love when the meatballs for parties are done that way. So going to try this out this week for dinner.

  4. a. grace says:

    Mmm…red currant jelly. That sounds like a nice touch, definitely worth trying!
    By the way, I grew up in southern VA too, and I know exactly what you’re talking about! :)

  5. Caitlin says:

    Chili sauce that isn’t spicy and doesn’t have anything to do with chilies or chili… sounds a lot like the Midwest I grew up in! I haven’t attempted to make meatloaf ever because all my dad ever did was throw whatever was in the fridge (leftover rice, breadcrumbs, assorted veggies, etc) into the mix and it always turned out wonderfully. But this looks good and simple enough to try and maybe expand on too. Soo… meatloaf for dinner this week!

  6. Happy Cook says:

    Oh the meatloaf look so moist. Delicious

  7. Sindy says:

    It always amazes me that everytime I think about making something I pull up one of the blogs that I read regularly and one or more will have that exact thing….freaky.
    I was contemplating trying out a recipe that I saw on Paula Dean for “Cheeseburger Meatloaf” I thought maybe my children would like that better than regular which they are not crazy about. But now I want to try this one because it looks good to ME.They must put like crack or something in the Heinz Chilli sauce and obviously it reacts with “jelly” and potentiates the effect because as gross as it sounds it somehow always tastes good. I do a bit of catering and people go crazy for my meatballs which have Chilli sauce and that cranberry Jellied crap they call sauce.
    I also grew up in the midwest and I happen to love meatloaf but am always afraid to try in out anywhere because I am afraid what they have put in it. So between that and the kids, I don’t have it very often. When I think about making meatloaf I simultaneously get excited about a left over meatloaf sandwich. Which is a thick slice of COLD meatloaf slathered in MIRACLE WHIP on WONDER BREAD. You don’t get more white trash that.

  8. Deborah says:

    Oh, how I wish I would have read this post last night before I made dinner!! I made a recipe that called for chili sauce, and in my naiveness, I used a real chili sauce, and it was way too hot to even eat. My mouth was burning for an hour…

  9. Liz says:

    Yum – that looks great! JD is the meatloaf maker in our household, so I’ll pass this recipe on to him – he’s always looking for ways to improve it that won’t completely wreck my plan to get in shape/eat healthfully. I think that my Mom must have overcooked the meatloaf when we were growing up, because we just wouldn’t eat it. And yes, I had my fair share of white trash meals growing up in MD! ;)

  10. Chuck says:

    Mmm… meatloaf! As a kid growing up in Pennsylvania, all I wanted for dinner was the meatloaf my friends had. My mom cooked primarily Vietnamese food and I wanted pizza and meatloaf. After I went off to college, I finally realized how good I had it with my mom’s cooking.

    Anyway, I’m a huge fan of meatloaf and yours looks fantastic! It’s funny you brought up “chili sauce that has nothing to do with real chiles”, which is one of my biggest pet peeves, but I guess they serve a purpose.

  11. LyB says:

    Meatloaf with mashed potatoes, cannot have one without the other, you just can’t! It looks delicious, I especially love the colors in the last photo, so appetizing.

  12. Kevin says:

    That turkey meatloaf looks nice and moist and tasty!

  13. Gigi says:

    oooh, this is the perfect winter dinner. Could it be because I was born and raised in Chicago? :) And the BTW, I once dated a guy just to get his grandmothers (from Mississippi) macaroni and cheese recipe! It was totally worth it. I still make it every Thanksgiving!

  14. Christine says:

    I didn’t grow up in the Midwest or the South but I do love me some meatloaf! I’ve actually never heard of meatloaf with red currant jelly or any sort of jelly – but it sounds like a nice combination. I also switched to turkey for meatloaf and don’t miss the beef. I’m going to add this to my long list of Jen’s Recipes to Make :)

    Also, just throwing somethin’ out there – if you ever decide to make a cookbook of your recipes and photos, I’ll be in line waiting to buy!

  15. Cedar says:

    That looks devine. I recently gave up red meat, and need to start making stuff like this to satisfy any cravings I may get!

  16. Graeme says:

    You’re one of the few people I know, Jen, that could get away with calling someone “Turkey” and avoid a punch in the face. :-)

    I’m amazed at how moist it is, and I bet it’d be fantastic as a Sandwich filling?

  17. StickyGooeyCreamyChewy says:

    That looks like a great recipe. I make Barefoot Contessa’s Turkey Meatloaf a lot. I’m definitely trying this one.

    By the way, come see me when you get a chance. I left a little something for you in my last post.

    Hope you’re doing well. :)

  18. jenyu says:

    Jen – wow, that sounds good. Now I’m starting to think of all sorts of things to add to it!

    Manggy – that is insane, sir! I’ve seen folks put pimento-stuffed olives into their meatloaf for similar effect, but not an egg. Kinda cool. Of course, we all know that anything fried is automatically delicious ;)

    Peabody – white trash recipes rule!

    A. Grace – oh, where about in So Va? I was in Williamsburg.

    Caitlin – cool, I hope it turns out to be a keeper for you.

    Happy Cook – it’s pretty moist. I suppose if you increase or decrease bread crumbs or turkey or egg, you can play with the consistency. I once made it without the breadcrumbs (was really tired and making it from memory) and it came out much more solid and tough :(

    Sindy – wow! That meatloaf sammy is a new one to me. CLASSIC!! :)

    Deborah – poor dear! I too was baffled by the reference to chili sauce when it’s just a sweet tomato-based sauce, but because I saw the ex make the meatloaf, I knew what to look for. Hope the future recipes are not as spicy for you!

    Liz – hey lady, I posted this recipe with you in mind since you don’t dig on red meat :) Hope you guys like it!

    Chuck – how many of us do you think there are? Asian kids born in the US who grew up wrinkling their noses at the awesome authentic foods served at home, craving American fare and then leaving for college only to realize that they really did have it good at home… Your story is all too familiar :)

    LyB – yes, absolutely!

    Kevin – it’s on the sweet side, but quite good. One more recipe to add to your amazing repertoire of dishes!

    Gigi – omg, that’s hilarious :) Will you dare share the mac and cheese recipe? I have been searching :)

    Christine – you should just come to my house and eat dinner with me instead! hee hee.

    Cedar – I started subbing ground turkey for beef in various dishes and find that I love the stuff on its own merits. Turkey burgers are the bomb!!

    Graeme – how do you know someone hasn’t punched me in the face? ;) Oooh yes, I cannot believe I never thought of that. I am a registered Sandwich Whore and yet I haven’t endeavored to make a meatloaf sandwich. *eye begins twitching*

    SGCC – thanks hon. I’ll drop by your blog right now. xxoo

  19. Melanie says:

    I randomly found your website on TasteSpotting but have to say I was pretty excited when you referenced growing up Chinese in the American South. That describes my childhood too! Except I lived in Raleigh, NC and not southern Virginia. :) But I have to agree, sometimes I had no clue what certain foods were. Except fried okra, my dad was a big fan so I learned that early on.

  20. jenyu says:

    Melanie – oh, that’s cute! I never got okra exposure until I had it tempura fried at a sushi bar in Southern California! We really ought to have a support group for the likes of us ;)

  21. Michael says:

    I once used buffalo wing sauce in my meatloaf, maybe I’ll try this recipe and substitute the wing sauce for the chili sauce.

  22. jenyu says:

    Michael – that sounds like a great idea. I love spicy!

  23. Seth says:

    Excellent! Thanks!

  24. Lael Hazan says:

    An turkey meatloaf with flavor! FANTASTIC! I love the inspired addition of the red currant jelly.

  25. Jack says:

    I am not the greatest fan of ground turkey meat but every once in a while I try a turkey meatloaf. I’m always looking for a recipe that I can stick with. I believe I found the recipe I like using yours. I used peach preserves and chile sauce and it was delicious. I cook for my sons and they gobbled up every piece of the meatloaf left on the platter.
    Thank you,

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