I have used my own go-to meatloaf recipe, substituting ground turkey or chicken for the beef, when needed. We have friends who don’t (or cannot) have beef or pork, and I am happy to make the meatloaf with poultry, but the consistency and texture are not the same.
After a lot of research and testing, in this adaptation I increased the level of spices & flavorings, and added a couple of extra tablespoons of coconut oil to compensate for the (much) drier texture of the ground poultry meat.
This recipe was made for a larger group, and will feed about 10 to 12 people. It uses 4 pounds of ground meat — 2 pounds of ground turkey and 2 pounds of ground chicken. You can easily cut this recipe in half to make a 2-pound loaf, which will feed 6 people.
- 2 full sleeves of Saltine crackers, crushed
- 2 Tablespoons of butter
- 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 large onions, finely diced (about 5 cups diced)
- 1 teaspoon Lowry’s garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6 large cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 2 Tablespoons dried thyme
- 2 Tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 Tablespoon ground allspice
- 3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Soy (or Braggs Amino Acids) sauce
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 7 eggs
- 1 Tablespoon granulated garlic
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil (melted, if yours is a solid)
- 6 oz fresh parmesan cheese, grated using a rasp (about 2 cups)
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- 2 pounds ground chicken
- 3 Tablespoons ketchup on top of each loaf pan (before baking)
Optional: 2 cup shredded Fontina cheese, divided evenly between loaf pans, to top each loaf pan (after baking)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare several loaf pans or baking dish(es) to accommodate.
Crush Saltine crackers to crumbs and add to a large mixing bowl.
Melt oil & butter in large sauté pan. Add onions and cook moderately until translucent (not browned) then add chopped garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add thyme, oregano, allspice, Worcestershire, soy, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and cream. Simmer to reduce by half and has consistency of loose oatmeal, stirring frequently. Remove pan from the heat and allow to cool somewhat, then transfer contents to the mixing bowl with the Saltine crumbs along with the eggs. Stir with a whisk to combine and allow the Saltine crumbs to soak up the liquids – about 5 minutes. Use a large whisk to stir the bread crumb mixture again, making sure there are no large clumps. Add garlic powder, remaining salt & pepper, red pepper flakes, chopped parsley, coconut oil and grated parmesan. Whisk to combine all ingredients well, then crumble in the ground chicken and turkey meats, mixing everything together very well to a uniform texture.
Transfer to loaf pans for baking. Spread ketchup smoothly over the top of each loaf before going in the oven.
Cover each loaf pan with foil and place on a sheet pan (to catch any drips) and bake in a 400 degree oven for 1 hour (or more) until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove foil in the last 15 minutes of baking.
Optional: Top the fully-cooked meatloaves with the shredded Fontina cheese and place under the broiler for just a few minutes until melted.
Allow the meatloaf to rest for 15 minutes before slicing into thick 1-inch portions.
Serve with more ketchup, if desired, at the table.
NOTE: For this, I used a couple of loaf pans, and sprayed each one with vegetable spray before adding meatloaf mixture; 3 fairly large loaf pans total. I prefer to use loaf pans instead of free-forming a loaf, because all the juices are captured in the loaf pan and I think it holds its shape better. At the time they are removed from the oven, it will look like a lot of liquid, but that will be re-absorbed into the meat as they cool before serving.