How to Cook Everything – Turkey Meatloaf w Buttermilk Biscuits

My husband, Patrick, handled the cooking of tonight’s dinner. This is (in part) a recipe from one of his favorite cookbooks, How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. We have exceptionally high standards here at, so if he gets out of line, you let him know about it. Take it away, Pat…

ps: you better eat the last two Samoas before I do


Greetings loyal subscribers.

Something abnormal has been happening in our house over the past month: Helen has been cooking.  During our 5.5 years of marriage, I have been the primary cook and have probably prepared 70% of meals consumed by our family.  For the past month we have been receiving food from Blue Apron, like care packages dropped on some forlorn island nation.  They are fantastic, and they are helping Helen learn how to cook great meals.
That being said, the following meal has nothing to do with any of that.  It was prepared by me without the help of Blue Apron…
Anyone still reading?  Ok, here we go.
1.25 lbs. ground turkey
1 lb. turkey or chicken breakfast sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 large egg
2/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 bottle of beer
This is a recipe of my own creation inspired by my Mother’s classic meatloaf, but with ground turkey and breakfast sausage used in place of ground beef.  You’ll notice there aren’t any additional spices used.  The nice thing about using the breakfast sausage is that it is already sufficiently spiced.
First, open the beer and begin drinking it, then preheat the oven to 370.  Take the ground turkey, breakfast sausage, onions and garlic and mix them together.  You could use a mixer here.  I used my hand, and then chased Helen around the kitchen with my gross, smelly meat-hand.  Good times.
After these are thoroughly mixed, add the egg and the breadcrumbs.  The mixture will be sticky.  Move the soon-to-be meatloaf to a 9x5x3 inch pan and press it down so the top is flat and the whole pan is filled.  Now go wash your hands.  Seriously.  They are covered in meat.  Nobody likes that, especially not your wife.
When the oven is up to temperature, cook the meatloaf for 40 minutes.  When I cook meatloaf, I put a casserole dish filled with about an inch of water in the oven also (usually on a lower rack).  This keeps the meatloaf from drying out and/or shriveling up while it cooks.  Or maybe it doesn’t…in either case I feel better about my efforts, and isn’t that important?  I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggonit my meatloaf is juicy.
While the meatloaf cooks, prepare the Buttermilk Biscuits.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
7/8 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons (1/2 of a stick) of butter.
Take my directions here with a grain of salt (one for yourself, the rest of the teaspoon for the biscuits).  I botched this recipe but good.
Mix the dry ingredients together and add the butter.  When you add the buttermilk, be sure to add only 7/8 of a cup.  I poured in the 7/8 cup, AND an extra cup to go with it.  I read the measuring cup wrong; 7/8 and 1-7/8 don’t actually look that different when you’re not paying attention.  Needless to say, the dough was a bit runny.  I found myself adding spoonfuls of extra flour trying to get the dough to behave like…well, dough.  I must have doubled the flour content before I realized my error, at which point it seemed all too appropriate to double the flour content.  Surprise double biscuit batch!
Bake your proper biscuits at 450 for 7-9 minutes.  My mutant biscuits needed significantly more time.  I was using 1 oven for both the meatloaf and the biscuits, which requires some juggling.  I finished the meatloaf after the 40 minute cook time in the oven as it transitioned from 370 to 450.  While the biscuits cook the meatloaf will cool to an ideal serving temp.  You’ll remove the perfectly fluffy biscuits, plate them, and serve up a great duo of comfort food.
I, on the other hand, waited patiently for the biscuits to brown.  They never did. They were dense enough to defeat a biscuit’s natural tendency to fluff up, and the ratio of butter to flour was skewed enough to prevent browning (or so I assume).  They came out of the oven more like dinner rolls–minus the airy interior that leavened dough provides.  Bad news, but they still tasted OK.  The fact that the taste was still acceptable speaks to the simple quality of Mark Bittman’s recipe.  I am eager to try this recipe again, and I’ll have my 5 year old help me because she can count.
I served this dish with a quick green salad of romaine, bell pepper, and green onion.  I’m happy to say that both of our girls ate the meatloaf and the “biscuit” eagerly, though neither cleaned their plate.  These days the Clean Plate Club is the exclusive province of Helen and myself.
So ends my first ever blog post.  Time for another beer…and perhaps a cookie.

About Helen

Person of interest. Surrogate extraordinaire. Sorry about the mess. View all posts by Helen

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