Thirty Minute Thursdays: Turkey & Mushroom Meatloaf Patties with Herb Smashed Potatoes

Apparently, meatloaf is making a comeback. What once used to be regarded with disdain – surely we’re too good for lowly little meatloaf, that block of dry ground meat and whatever  mysterious leftover ingredients mom needed to use up that week – is actually topping the lists of predicted food trends for 2012. Now, I never grew up on meatloaf. I can’t even tell you the first time I tried it, or if I even necessarily did before I made my own version last year. I don’t know if I quite understand everyone’s previous grievances with meatloaf. I know people who associate it with “poor people’s food” – generally, people who grew up in hard times and can’t really separate those financial struggles from the foods upon which their families relied; I know other people who balk at the texture. Yet really, what is meatloaf but a “bulk” scale version of a burger? It’s ground meat, some filler…it seems pretty innocuous, if you ask me. Plus, as people have been commenting recently, it’s super versatile, and you know how weak in the knees I get for a recipe that can shape shift to keep things exciting without too much added effort.

Rachael Ray includes her own version of meat loaf in her Classic 30 Minute Meals cookbook, and I gave it a shot just last week. She uses ground turkey breast instead of beef, adds in some meaty mushrooms (which you could totally increase in order to cut back on the meat even more), and has you form the mixture into patties rather than one log. The patties are lightly sautéed rather than baked, and I think the combination of keeping them individual and on the stovetop really helps to eliminate that cliché “dry” meatloaf that so many people probably have stuck in their minds. I thought they were absolutely delicious. The other thing they most certainly were, was enormous – I think, given the right side dishes, the meatloaf mixture could easily feed 5-6 non-ravenous people, though the recipe claims it’s only for 4.

I served it with two other RR recipes – lemony green beans and herb smashed potatoes. I only tasted the potatoes and then focused on the meat and beans for a lower carbohydrate meal, which is why the full patty was good for me, but if you have a healthy serving of potatoes and fill a good half of your plate with the green beans, you could easily trim back on the meat portion of the meal. Although, I found both side dishes to pale in comparison to the main meat loaf patty, so maybe you should go for a more enjoyable pair of sides instead of these two specifically. In fact, I’m not even going to tell you about the green beans because I actually disliked them, and it takes a whole lot to get me to actively dislike any veggie-based recipe. It was admittedly, to some extent, my fault for using defrosted frozen beans instead of fresh, and heating them in the pan with the lemon juice, which resulted in that unwanted shade of green, but it still just didn’t do anything for me, or really anyone else who had them. They were edible, sure, but ultimately forgettable. The potatoes were much better, and maybe my lackluster review has more to do with the fact that I just don’t get very excited about regular potatoes in general. You can see my adapted version of Rachael’s recipe for those below.

Also, please note below that I used dairy alternatives in place of all of the butter. The original calls for the real stuff, but my dad chooses not to mix meat and dairy, so we always cook with soy/almond milk and butter alternatives when a meat dish calls for dairy. It took a while to find a butter alternative that worked. Most are chock-full of hydrogenated oils, and a surprising amount contain trace levels of dairy products, such as whey from milk. We finally found Bestlife Buttery Spread, which is free of hydrogenated oils and all signs of dairy, even in the most minute amounts. I still use regular butter whenever meat and my dad aren’t involved, and my dad also uses regular butter whenever he isn’t planning to eat meat, but this has been a great find for us. Just know that you can make this recipe with regular dairy products if that’s what you prefer – it’s how it was intended – but I think all of dishes turned out perfectly well with the substitutions, too.

Turkey & Mushroom Meatloaf Patties with Herb Smashed Potatoes, adapted from Rachael Ray’s Classic 30 Minute Meals
Yield: 5-6 servings

The Ingredients – The Potatoes
6 red potatoes, cut into chunks
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter alternative
1 ½ shallots, chopped
15 blades chives, chopped or snipped
1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
¾ cup chicken broth
6 ounces goat cheese (optional)

The Ingredient s – The Meatloaf Patties
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 crimini (baby Portobello) mushrooms, chopped
8 shiitake mushrooms, chopped & stems removed
1 shallot, chopped
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 ⅓ pounds ground turkey breast
1-2 teaspoons dried, ground sage
1 tablespoon barbeque sauce1
½ cup panko or homemade breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons butter alternative
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 cups chicken broth

The Method
Start a large pot of water to boil for the potatoes, then start working on the meat patties. Place a very large skillet or sauté pan with 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat, then add the mushrooms and shallots when the oil has heated. Season with pepper and sauté until the mushrooms have darkened and tenderized, 5-6 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Place the turkey in a medium-large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Into the well, add the sage, barbeque sauce, bread crumbs, eggs, and sautéed mushroom-shallot mixture. Season with pepper and mix together thoroughly before dividing into 5-6 equal, 1-inch thick patties. Set aside (refrigerate if you plan to make these in advance).

Once the potato pot has reached a boil, add the potatoes and let the water return to a boil. Once it reaches the second boil, continue to cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, approximately 15 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of oil to the same pan you sautéed the mushrooms in, and arrange the patties in the pan. Cook the patties for 10 minutes on each side, adding more oil as necessary if the patties stick too badly (remember, ground turkey breast is much leaner than ground beef, and won’t leech nearly as much fat to help with the nonstick process).

As the patties are finishing up, and once the potatoes finish cooking, drain the potatoes and return the empty pot to the stovetop. Lower the heat to medium and add in the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. When the butter has melted, add in the shallots, sautéing 2-3 minutes before adding in the chives, thyme, and potatoes. Mash the potatoes (you may transfer to a food processor or stand mixer if your family likes well-pureed potatoes, but I think these turned out best slightly chunky), slowly adding in the broth until you achieve the right consistency.

Hold the potatoes over low heat and transfer the meat patties to a serving platter in order to make a quick gravy: add the remaining butter and, once it has melted, whisk in the flour. After 1-2 minutes, whisk in the broth and thicken the gravy to your liking. Serve the potatoes with a side of goat cheese and the meat patties with a side of the gravy, and enjoy!

1I really cringe when I read the ingredient list on a bottle of barbeque sauce. I’m not sure if Worcestershire is any better. For now, I use it so infrequently that I haven’t scoured the grocery store aisles for more wholesome alternatives, but if you know of one, definitely feel free to use it here. It may even be good with a little bit of whole grain mustard!

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