Help a Brother Out

Turkey Meatloaf with Sweet Sticky Sauce
My brother has a memory like an elephant. So many details running around inside his head; it's a wonder that he can remember the mundane, everyday important things, like brushing his teeth and putting on deodorant and wearing clean socks. And who knows, maybe right now, as he's reading this his teeth are unbrushed and he's going deodorant and sock-free. If so, rock on, brother!

The other day, he sent me a desperate email, pleading that I help him satisfy his craving for meatloaf. "Remember," the email began, "the meatloaf you used to make? The one with the sweet sticky sauce? Could you please give me that recipe?"

Growing up, meatloaf was a staple in our house, but my mom only used ground beef and near the very end, she'd ice a thick layer of ketchup over the top of the meatloaf, maybe even a few slices of cheese, and then slip the pan back into the oven for a few minutes longer.

It was my favorite part of the meatloaf. It was the part that I ate first, and if no one was looking, I'd drag my fork across the top of the loaf and pull a thin layer of the ketchup frosting onto the tines of my fork. I still love that family recipe, but over the years, I developed my own recipe. I use plenty of ground turkey and mushrooms, a handful of bread crumbs and a few dollops of mustard, but the real kicker is the sweet sticky sauce that I use to frost my loaf. It's so good and thick and the sweetness, well, based on my brother's desperate email, I'd say it's pretty memorable.

Mel's Turkey Meatloaf with Sweet Sticky Sauce

2 packages ground turkey (1.25lbs in each package)
1 6 ounce package white mushrooms
1 bunch of Italian parsley, stems removed
1 large onion, finely minced
1 large egg
1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
2 teaspoons of yellow mustard
2 slices bread
8 saltine crackers
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper

10 ounces of tomato paste
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1. Put ground turkey and minced onions into a bowl.
2. In a food processor, chop the mushrooms; add to the ground turkey mixture.
3. In a food processor, chop the parsley, bread and crackers; add to the ground turkey mixture.
4. Add the egg, mustards and salt and pepper to the turkey mixture.
5. Using your hands, mix the ground turkey and other ingredients together. You should have a firm mixture. If not, you may have to add a few more crushed crackers.
6. Pat mixture into a long, narrow terrine pan (I use a Le Crusét) or divide between two loaf pans.
7. Bake in a 350º oven for 60-70 minutes, or until cooked through.
8. During the last 15 minutes of cooking time, mix together the tomato paste, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce and thickly frost the top of the meatloaf.

*Because this meatloaf incorporates mushrooms, you will have a lot of juice to drain as the meatloaf cooks. Use a turkey baster to remove the juices; make sure at the end of the cooking time, when you frost the meatloaf, the juices are drained.
*This meatloaf is best chilled overnight and eaten the second day.
*I like to use a terrine pan because it makes the perfect sized slices for sandwiches.


  1. My Mom made meatloaf quite often, probably because she could stretch out a package of beef with veggies, bread and onions. The onions were the worst part - big chunky white onions, which you know I abhor. I'd complain to my Mom who would say "you can't even taste them!" to which I would reply "then why put them in there in the first place??!"

    But Tony, he loves meatloaf. I wrap his in bacon and put his beloved ketchup "frosting" on top. It's the only leftovers he'll eat, by taking a slice of cold meatloaf and slapping it between two slices of white bread - he's a happy camper!

  2. I'm with Tony; cold meatloaf on white bread makes a terrific sandwich and is probably one of my greatest childhood food memories.


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