I don't know if I'm supposed to though. While it is a quintessential American comfort food, it's also equated with mystery meat and gauche cuisine. But I think when it's done right, it's moist, tasty, and filling. What's not to love?
My son loves meatloaf as well, not surprising, as it's, well, meat. I do need to be careful about how creative and sneaky I get when it comes to ingredients, of course. That boy can spot "relatively healthy" from ten miles away. So when I saw this recipe in Food Network Magazine, I was psyched. It can be made with meatloaf mix or with ground turkey. Since we're a pretty pork-free home, we went the turkey route. And they suggested a bunch of toppings but I didn't bother. Not that they didn't sound great, but why waste the effort when the Little Critic would just toss them to the wayside? But meatloaf with a yummy sauce between bread? I'm in.
Tangy Meatloaf Burgers
1 small onion (1/2 sliced into rings, 1/2 diced)
1 pound meatloaf mix (ground pork, beef and veal) or ground turkey
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (preferably panko)
1 large egg
1 tsp sweet or smoked paprika
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup duck sauce (substitute 1/3 cup orange marmalade or peach preserves mixed with a splash of water if duck sauce is unavailable)
salt and pepper
1. Preheat a grill to medium high. Soak the onions rings in a bowl of cold water to keep them crisp. Meanwhile, combine the meatloaf mix with the diced onion, parsley, breadcrumbs, egg, paprika, 1 tbsp each of ketchup and duck sauce, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Gently form into four 1-inch-thick patties; make an indentation in the middle of each.
2. Brush the patties with olive oil and grill until marked on the bottom, about 6 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the remaining ketchup and duck sauce in a small bowl for brushing; set aside. Turn the patties, brush with the ketchup mixture and continue grilling until cooked through, about 5 more minutes.
3. Spread buns with remaining ketchup mixture. Drain onion rings. Serve patties on buns with onions.
The Verdict: Hello, my name is Chef Blunderbutt and I'm just going to toss random crap into ground meat, type it up as a recipe, and have a magazine print it, mmmkay?
It wasn't gross, but it was...busy. You've got very herbal fresh parsley, the smoky taste of paprika (if you went the smoked paprika route), and because I wasn't buying a jar of duck sauce only to use a quarter of it, orange marmalade. It's a bit of an arbitrary mix that just doesn't quite marry in the end.
My poor son sat down at the table and announced, "I'm excited!" for dinner, thinking when I said burgers I meant those beef things between bread that don't taste like a helter-skelter sandwich. But to be honest, his vanishing passion had less to do with taste and all about finding greens in his meat. I was able to photograph the downward spiral of the meal:
And so goes dinner with this child.
|Sorry so blurry, but here's Amir digging into his burger|
|He now discovers the offending green|
|Now the burger must be dissected to remove any and all parsley|
The two things that I did learn from this recipe were the two tricks they included. The first is putting onion slices in cold water. I couldn't believe how nice and crisp they were in the burger. The other was making the indentation in the center of the burgers before cooking. You know how burgers swell up and look like meatballs instead of patties sometimes? Making this well keeps them flat.
So I'm not sure if it was just my taste buds, but this meal didn't do it for me. Let me know if you try it out and get a different result. Maybe marmalade/paprika/parsley really is a great idea.