I know it’s still summer.  I know meat is still being grilled and pool parties are still occurring.  But frankly, I’m ready for fall.  I’m ready for cool, crisp weather…and for the leaves to start changing…and of course for all of the comfort foods associated with the fall and winter.  That’s why I chose, in the middle of August, to make Ina’s Turkey Meatloaf and Parmesan Smashed Potatoes as part of my Week with the Barefoot Contessa.

Comfort food enthusiasts, don’t even think about turning your nose up at the fact that this is a turkey meatloaf.  If my beef-loving husband didn’t know I was making a turkey meatloaf in advance, I could have totally passed this off as a meatloaf mixture recipe.  I, too, expected him to balk at this recipe and turn up his nose but being that just about every single Ina recipe that I’ve made has been a complete success, I think he’s learning to trust the recipes as much as I am. And that’s a success story in and of itself.

My friend Jen was actually the one who encouraged me to make this recipe as we were pouring over some of Ina’s cookbooks a few weeks ago, all giddy about sharing recipes we’ve already made and getting excited to try out new ones.  Once I heard that her husband loved this recipe, I knew that Kyle would too.  In my eyes, if you’re going to make meatloaf in the middle of the summer, you have to go all out and make mashed potatoes on the side.  Ina’s Parmesan Mashed Potatoes was another recipe that Jen highly recommended so this side was a no-brainer for this meal. Thanks Jen!!

And we weren’t let down.  Both of these recipes were fantastic!  The meatloaf (which I cut down by 2/3 – 5lbs of ground turkey? Really??) was moist and so incredibly flavorful that you cannot tell it’s turkey meat. Amazing.  This was seriously the best meatloaf I’ve ever made and I even got “2 thumbs up” from Kyle, the meatloaf critic. The potatoes (which I cut in half of the original recipe) were delish and perfectly buttery; the Parmesan cheese flavor really comes through since there aren’t many other flavors competing with it.

Side note about the potatoes: As I was reading this recipe, the blurb that precedes the ingredient list mentions that Ina got this recipe from a woman named Antonia Bellanca.  My eyes just about popped out of my head.  My grandmother’s late dear friend was Ann Bellanca who lived in East Hampton, NY.  Coincidence?? I think not.  After discussing this with my mom, it turns out that Antonia is Ann’s daughter!  What a small world! Six degrees of separation working again! How cool is that?

Turkey Meatloaf

source: Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

  • 3 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large onions)
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 5 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 1 1/2 cups plain dry bread crumbs
  • 3 extra-large eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a medium saute pan, over medium-low heat, cook the onions, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme until translucent, but not browned, approximately 15 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste and mix well. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Combine the ground turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, and onion mixture in a large bowl. Mix well and shape into a rectangular loaf on an ungreased sheet pan. Spread the ketchup evenly on top. Bake for 1 1/2 hours until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F. and the meatloaf is cooked through. (A pan of hot water in the oven under the meatloaf will keep the top from cracking.) Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold in a sandwich.

Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

source: Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

  • 3 pounds red new potatoes, unpeeled
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/4 pound unsalted unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Place the potatoes and 1 tablespoon of salt in a 4-quart saucepan and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer covered for 30 to 45 minutes, until completely tender. Drain.
  2. In an electric mixer with paddle attachment, mix the potatoes for a few seconds to break them up. In a small saucepan, heat the half-and-half and butter. Add them slowly to the potatoes, mixing on the lowest speed. The last quarter of the cream should be folded in by hand. Fold in the sour cream, Parmesan, 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper and serve immediately.