Who says you shouldn’t play with your food? Some of the best chefs in the world have been doing just that for many years now. As soon as a plate of food is put in front of us we start ‘eating’ it with our eyes. Presentation can make or break a dish. As a home cook I don’t claim to ever get it right but I do like to have a bit of fun with it now and then.
These Turkey Meatloaf Muffins came into being after I saw Michael’s reaction to my suggestion that I cook meatloaf. To be fair I can totally understand why he was quite so underwhelmed. Meatloaf is, let’s face it, something that was invented to make the most of some cheap and basic ingredients. Made well it can be quite tasty, but when it goes wrong, well… Let’s just say I think he’d envisaged me serving up some depressing greige slabs of meat for dinner. Devoid of all moisture. Or flavour. Or texture.
My first way to get around this was to use turkey mince instead of beef or pork. I had hoped it would steer clear of the grey zone and bring a lighter texture. As it’s very lean I had to ensure it stayed moist enough by the time it got to the table. I pretty much knew from the outset that I would be wrapping it in bacon. It’s only when I had a look online for a few other ideas that I chanced up on the idea of making individual meatloves in a muffin pan. They cook quicker – so less chance of them going dry – and there would be no grey squares in sight. I was confident I could convince Michael that meatloaf wasn’t inherently bad.
I had a plan to make the meatloaf muffins and serve them on top of mash, with some sauce alongside. Until I saw an image on Pinterest where someone had piped mashed potatoes over their food, not unlike frosting. I don’t have the patience or equipment to pipe hot mash – but I liked what I saw. Now I just needed the right time to make them.
As it so happened we’d invited my niece over for dinner a couple of weeks ago and I saw that as the perfect opportunity. Though before you think “how nice, Scott made his little niece something fun for dinner” I should probably mention she’s about to graduate from university. She was born just before I started my degree and now she’s about to finish hers!
When life makes you feel old it’s the ideal excuse to make yourself feel young again. It’s fine to play with your food from time to time. You’re a grown up who’s going to tell you off anyway?
Turkey Meatloaf Muffins
For the Barbecue Sauce
- 350 g Passata Rustica
- 200 ml Coca Cola
- 1 tbsp Soft Brown Sugar
- 1 tbsp Cider Vinegar
- ½ tsp Garlic Powder
- ¼ tsp Smoked Paprika
- Pinch Sea Salt Flakes
- Pinch Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 tbsp Lime Juice
For the Meatloaf Muffins
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Onion peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic peeled and crushed
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tbsp Tomato Purée
- 500 g Turkey Mince
- 2 large Free Range Eggs beaten
- 75 g Panko Breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- 8 rashers Smoked Streaky Bacon
For the Mashed Potato Frosting
- 1 kg Waxy Potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
- 4 tbsp Butter
- 4 tbsp Crème Fraîche
- ¼ tsp Fine Sea Salt
- Pinch Freshly Ground Pepper
- 2 tbsp Chopped Chives to garnish
- 2 tbsp Crispy Bacon pieces to garnish
Make the Barbecue Sauce
- Put all of the ingredients, except the lime juice, into a saucepan and mix well.
- Bring the mixture to the boil then reduce the heat – keep at a low simmer for around 30 minutes, until you have a thickened sauce. Stir regularly to avoid the sauce burning or catching on the bottom of the pan.
- Allow the sauce to cool slightly before mixing through the lime juice to give a bit of freshness to the sauce.
Make the Meatloaf
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 10-15 minutes until softened and translucent.
- Add in the garlic and cook for a further 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant, ensuring the garlic doesn’t burn. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, tomato purée and 3 tbsp of the barbecue sauce, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Break the turkey mince into a large mixing bowl. Add the onion mixture, along with the eggs, breadcrumbs and dried oregano. Mix until well combined.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170°C
- Generously coat a muffin tin with non-stick oil spray (or rub each compartment with some olive oil). Line 8 of the muffin tin cups with a rasher of bacon. Divide the meatloaf mixture between the muffin cups – allowing the mixture to sit slightly proud of the tin if possible.
- Put into the pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and spoon 1 tsp of barbecue sauce onto the top of each “muffin” before returning to bake for a further 15 minutes until cooked through.
Make the Mashed Potato Frosting
- Meanwhile, put the potatoes into a large pan of cold water then bring to the boil. Cook for 20 minutes until tender.
- Drain well, then mash until smooth – mixing in the butter, crème fraîche and seasoning to taste.
- When the muffins are cooked remove from the pan then decorate each with a generous amount of the mashed potato frosting. Use a piping bag if you’re feeling a little creative. Garnish with the chopped chives and bacon pieces.
- Serve two muffins per person, with the remaining mashed potato and barbecue sauce alongside.