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Turkey Meatloaf with Fennel and Bacon


Serves 8

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 109

Wrapped in bacon and lashed with a double dose of fennel, this turkey meatloaf is anything but austere. Create your own customized meatlof recipe with the Recipe Maker.

  • 2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. canola or olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup small-diced fennel
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 oz. medium-coarse white bread, such as Italian or French, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 lb. ground turkey (not 100% breast meat)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup sliced scallions
  • 2 tsp. coarsely chopped fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 oz. sliced bacon (about 9 strips)
For a leaner meatloaf, omit the bacon and instead glaze the loaf with 2 Tbs. honey before cooking (you can skip the broiling step at the end).

Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 10- to 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the onion, fennel, and garlic, stirring frequently, until softened and just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the white wine, and simmer briskly, until almost dry, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool until warm.

In a shallow dish that holds it in a single layer, soak the bread in the milk, flipping once, until soggy but not falling apart, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the coarseness and freshness of the bread. Lightly squeeze a handful of bread at a time to remove some of the milk (it should be wet but not drenched). Finely chop and add to the bowl with the vegetable mixture.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

Add the turkey and eggs to the onion mixture. Scatter the scallions, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes over the meat, and then sprinkle with the Worcestershire, 2-1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Use your hands to gently mix all the ingredients until just combined; try not to compact the mixture as you do this.

Heat the remaining 1 tsp. of oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Form 1 Tbs. of the meatloaf mixture into a small patty. When the oil is hot, cook the patty on both sides until cooked through, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly. Taste and adjust the salt, pepper, and other seasonings as needed. Repeat until you're satisfied with the flavor.

Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment. Transfer the meatloaf mixture to the baking pan and form into a 10x4-inch rectangular block (it becomes loaf-shaped as it cooks). Finish the meatloaf by draping it with slightly overlapping strips of bacon, tucking the ends under the loaf.

Bake until an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F in the center of the meatloaf, 40 to 55 minutes.

Broil the meatloaf about 6 inches from the broiler element until the bacon is brown and crisped, about 3 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board or serving platter with a large spatula and cut into 3/4- to 1-inch-thick slices.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with luscious Sour Cream and Leek Mashed Potatoes on the side and Red Grape, Polenta and Olive Oil Cake for dessert.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 390, Fat (kcal): 22, Fat Calories (g): 200, Saturated Fat (g): 6, Protein (g): 31, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9, Carbohydrates (mg): 13, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 4.5, Sodium (g): 810, Cholesterol (g): 150, Fiber (g): 1,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Moist and delicious! Was a big hit with the family! Made it with bacon, will try it next time with the glaze...

Delicious! I will admit that I did a lot of improv preparing this tonight. Nevertheless, it was tasty, moist, and appetizing. I know you're supposed to taste everything as you go, but I thought making the patty to taste the flavors was a bit too much. I know what I like!

Wonderful flavor, and certainly healthier than most meatloaf recipes. My husband didn't care for the "texture" of the diced fennel bulb, so next time I'll either saute longer or chop it finer. The seasonings given in the recipe were perfect for us. I used the honey glaze, which was delicious.

The best turkey meatloaf I've ever made by far. Also very tasty sliced cold in a sandwich.

Definitely a keeper!! I had all the ingredients except the fennel bulb when I came across this recipe and decided to try it anyway...OMGosh... the fennel seed gave just a hint of flavor. I will try this again when I get some fennel bulb, which I saw at Trader Joes the day after I made this... Try this, you won't be sorry. I did also experience a longer cook time needed for the correct internal temp.

Using ingredients exactly as written, resulted in a very juicy and tasty meatloaf. I found that it needed to be in the oven for at least another 20 minutes to achieve the correct internal temperature. I will definitely make it again.

This was fantastic! Loved the fennel flavor and the depth the soaked bread added. The bacon kept the meatloaf incredibly juicy. Used pre-packaged ground turkey that is sold in 1/25 lb containers and just increased the basic ingredients a bit. Needed to cook it longer to get to 165. Husband has already asked me to make it again.

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