Sunday, October 25, 2009

Those darn sneaky mushrooms...

After that last mushroom incident where Jeff was being a little rascal, I was more determined that ever to see what else I could manage to slip that fungi without him causing a ruckus. Thankfully, I was able to get to the market today, without said helper, to grab what I needed to make this Turkey Meatloaf with Smoked Gouda and Mushrooms for dinner.

I might be fighting a losing battle, though Jeff has eaten mushrooms a few times now and did enjoy the meal, but for some reason he is being stubborn. I can be just as stubborn though, so maybe he'll change his tune eventually... he did with tofu! What I thought might pass the muster with this recipe was how the cremini mushrooms where prepared - instead of just lightly sautéing them, the slices were left alone in the pan, being stirred only once or twice, until both sides had seared to a rich, golden brown color. While they won't turn crispy, which would probably solve Jeff's texture issue, I thought the development of flavor that happens would draw him in and show that they don't have to be flavorless sponges (his words!).

After doing a couple batches of the shrooms, I kept them aside in a bowl while I used the same skillet to soften thinly sliced leeks and three cloves worth of minced garlic. Scooped into the bowl with the mushrooms, I let the vegetables cool down, allowing me to stir in the shredded smoked Gouda, cubed day-old bread, an egg and tablespoon of chopped fresh sage. As we were using turkey in this meatloaf, I used a combination of light and dark that I coarsely ground - if you're using a purchased kind, aim for one that is labeled 93% lean as that little bit of extra fat does wonders to keep this moist. You could get away with all ground turkey breast if you must, but I do recommend the mix.

Instead of using a pan to cook this in, all we did was place the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking pan and free-formed it into a large loaf. Just as you would if you were cooking a whole piece of meat, you'll want to let this loaf rest once it has baked so all the juice inside doesn't drain out before it has a chance to redistribute. The original recipe called for using a milder fontina cheese, which is option if you already have some in the refrigerator. However, I was looking for a more assertive, robust flavor to keep Jeff interested, which is why I went with the smoked Gouda.

I already had a feeling I was going to enjoy my dinner, but I was way more interested to find out Jeff's opinion as I didn't grind down the mushrooms or anything (conveniently he wasn't home while I was preparing it!) - and they were quite visible in the slices. Before I handed him his plate, I did take a forkful and asked him to taste it and check for seasoning (he said later he didn't even think twice because I told him it was just meatloaf after all)... he mentioned an smoky, earthy flavor that struck him right away, but then said it was quite good! He took his plate, sat down to eat and that's when the picking started to figure out what was in it. Yes, a groan that was loud enough to hear around the world, was bellowed out and followed by "Mushrooms! Nooo! You did it again!". I figured he was going to pull out the pieces he could see, but, you know what? He kept eating and went back for an extra slice! Yeah!


  1. I always have to find ways to 'disguise' mushrooms because my youngest son does not like them. He can see them from 5 miles...

    This looks delish.

  2. We love PB cookies but I find myself doing the same recipes all the time. This one looks darn good.

  3. Yummy. I'm not usually a meatloaf fan but with cheese and mushrooms, yes please

  4. I love your stories about feeding a (sometimes) picky eater. Luckily mine have both grown up and left the house; I can now fix anything and Don will eat it. I won't eat beets though. I refuse. He can get them at salad bars.

  5. This looks especially tasty. Have you tried roasting mushrooms until they get caramelized on the outside? It gets rid of the spongey texture.

  6. that is too funny :) sounds delicious!!

  7. Helene - Then you know what I'm dealing with!

    Kelly - That's what my thinking was.

    Cyndi - I'll try beets, but I haven't become a lover of them quite yet.

    Josie - I haven't tried roasting them!

    Sophie - Thanks!

    Shannon - It was!

  8. Earthy and slimy. Too words to describe mushrooms. But it seems like you were able to overcome them with the other textures and tastes.

    Not brave enough to try this one though. I too am a 'shroom hater.

  9. Sneaky, sneaky! The turkey/shroom loaf looks amazing.

  10. Rachel - You took the description right out of Jeff's mouth!

    Jacey - Thanks!

  11. My foodie confession: I loathe button mushrooms. You can call the cremini, if you like, but I still loathe them.

    Curiously, the pricier the mushroom, the less I loathe it. Shell out for morels, and I'd delighted to tuck in.