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Turkey Meatloaf with Spicy Tomato Jam

Turkey Meatloaf with Spicy Tomato Jam
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         Ground turkey is not my favorite protein, not by a long shot. But I know many people adore the stuff. For its low fat, high protein content, it’s hard to beat.  The difference between it and ground beef is startling.  A mix of dark and white ground turkey saves 154 calories and 20 grams of fat over an identical sized serving of beef.  My problem is that most of the time I don’t think ground turkey holds a candle to the flavor of its alternative.  The exception that proves the rule is this incredible meatloaf.  It’s full of flavor in the loaf itself with its layer of shitake mushrooms and roasted red peppers.  And then there’s the incredible Spicy Tomato Jam that tops it. So good! And it looks as good as it tastes.  Altogether this is well worth cooking. I’d even go so far as to say I might serve it to guests.  Although I’d really rather have extra leftover because I love a great meatloaf sandwich and this meatloaf makes a great one.

        Because I don’t cook with ground turkey much, I didn’t even realize you could buy packages of white meat and dark meat ground turkey.  But there they sat, side by side in the Trader Joe’s Kosher Poultry section.  I like to buy Kosher poultry because the koshering process, known in Hebrew as melichah (“salting”), is similar to brining: The meat is washed, soaked in water; salted; and then rinsed thoroughly it three times. (My friend, Devra Ferst, the newly appointed food editor of the Jewish Daily Forward lent a hand with this information. Thanks and Congratulations, Devra!)  
       Since Turkey is so fat-free, it needs all the help it can get to impart flavor.  I would never consider roasting a turkey without brining it first.  But I would also never consider brining ground turkey.  The other thing to remember about turkey is that it readily absorbs other flavors which is why there’s Turkey Bacon, Turkey Ham and Turkey Pastrami. In this recipe the flavor comes from all kinds of additions—garlic, sage, onions, ginger.  And then there’s the Spicy Tomato Jam. 

         The jam is a simple stovetop recipe that pairs fire-roasted tomatoes, onion, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar.  I used fire-roasted tomatoes with green chilis for an even bigger kick than is provided by the crushed red pepper flakes.  As to time, this recipe, which came form Country Living magazine, gave a prep time of 25 minutes and total time of an hour and half.   There’s a lot of overlap. You cook the mushroom layer while you combine the meat loaf ingredients.  Once the meatloaf goes into the oven, you put the Spicy Tomato Jam on the stove.  Have a glass of wine then top the meatloaf with the Jam, continue cooking another half hour and voila!  An absolutely delightful discovery: Ground Turkey that tastes terrific. Here is the recipe:

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