Monday, November 9, 2015

Rolled Stuffed Meat Loaf

Meat loaf!
It's great hot.
It's great cold.
It's homey.
It reminds me of my grandmother.
And it's only a bucketload of cholesterol shy of being pâté.

This summer, and well into these foothills of winter, I have been playing around with meat loaf in multiple shapes, ranging from little minis to big 2-pounders. My favorite so far is a rolled meat loaf—with a tip of the toque to Mario Batali whose elaborate wine-steamed, prosciutto-filled creation set me on this path.

There's a world of things that work well in a rolled meat loaf, but after much experimentation I've narrowed the ingredients to those that show up nicely when you slice the meat loaf and also contribute flavor.

Rolled Turkey Meat Loaf
Since I am not a fan of plastic wrap (buying it and then throwing it away, that is), I use a plastic produce bag that I cut open and lay flat.

2 large bell peppers (any colors), cut lengthwise into flat panels
2 pounds ground turkey breast
3/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 teaspoons ground fennel
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons bottled salsa
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon small capers
1 cup parsley leaves
1 cup shredded mozzarella

1. Preheat the broiler. Broil the peppers pieces 4 inches from the heat for 12 minutes, or until the skin is charred. Remove from the oven and turn the pepper pieces over to cool. When cool enough to handle, pull off the skin.
2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet.
3. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, bread crumbs, Parmesan, fennel, salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup of the salsa, the eggs and capers, and mix well.

4. Pull out a piece of plastic wrap about 15 inches long. Plop the meat loaf mixture onto the plastic and pat the meat out to a 9 x 12-inch rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.

5. Cover the meat mixture with the parsley, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Then add an even layer of the mozzarella, again leaving a border. Top with the roasted peppers, alternating colors.

6. Pull up one end of the plastic wrap to gently force the meat loaf to roll over itself.

7. Continue to lift and roll, tucking in the filling ingredients as you go so they don't just get pushed forward.

8. Pinch the ends together to completely seal in the filling.

9. Roll the meat loaf onto the baking sheet ending with it seam-side down. Coat the outside and ends of the meat loaf with the remaining 2 tablespoons salsa. Bake in the center of the oven for 40 minutes, until the juices run clear and the center registers 150°F on an instant-read thermometer.
10. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 8 to 10 servings

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