Saturday, May 24, 2008

Turkey Spinach Meatloaf

I found this recipe for Turkey Spinach Meatloaf many years ago in the Houston Chronicle. Prior to this, the only time I ever had Turkey Meatloaf was when we would visit my grandmother in Abilene, Texas.

For a number of years, we went to visit her for a week every summer, to give my parents a much needed break from us. I have to say, in spite of her age and the fact that it was, well, Abilene, she did a really good job of keeping us entertained. The only serious bout of boredom I recall was during the election of Pope John Paul I as we had to stay at her place for several days on end waiting for that damned white smoke. Thank God there was a seven hour time difference, so that by the time the cardinals would pack it in for the day, we'd still have the afternoon to get out.

Back then (the mid-to-late seventies), getting ground turkey wasn't as easy, so she was dependent on the whims of the local butcher. It seems she had about a 50% to 75%success rate getting it at the time of our visits - missing out on it just enough that it was a special treat. Her recipe was essentially a poultry oriented version of the basic beef loaf. She had a great touch with the seasonings on that.

So, when I spotted this one, I jumped on it, already being primed for the concept. Of course, it's very, very different. But very tasty. The basil really comes through, which was particularly useful this week, seeing as how I had to finish up the mountains I bought from Restaurant Depot.

This batch didn't work out as well as it had in the past. The flavor is fine, but it falls apart too easily. There are two basic reasons, I think.

First, I doubled the recipe and used two square cake pans. My second loaf pan is in a box somewhere down in the basement. Second, I went the almost completely fat free route, using 99% lean ground turkey breast and egg substitute, so I think there wasn't as much binding action going on. It usually cooks a lot longer for me that it did, as the loaf pans are twice as deep, which I think may give the egg proteins more time to firm up, like a custard.

Writing this makes me think that someday, I need to try to recreate hers. I can still remember the taste, so it may be doable.

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