On Wednesday I was volunteering at my CSA with this nice cancer researcher named Eric, he’s not only smart, but a good cook and a wine maker! Of course I’m thinking, I can barely find time to do the dishes never mind be a brilliant scientist/chef and wine maker. So of course when he mentions casually that Concord Grape Ketchup was awesome and easy (just make a ketchup recipe only with grapes instead of tomatoes) I had to come home and promptly make some!
I love Concord Grapes and am always wanting to make the most of the season by extending it through preserving, pickling and jam making. So I ran home from my CSA volunteering gig with Eric and started looking for recipes. My first mistake I think was to look for Concord Grape Ketchup recipes. Most of them just seemed like grape jam with some spices and vinegar. So I tool a peak at some actual ketchup recipes and started experimenting. The first thing I have to say is that there are a lot of really crazy recipes out there. The key I found to making grape ketchup work was to get it thick enough (some recipes called for added water?) and to get a depth of flavor that seemed to be lacking from all the grape ketchup recipes, they just seemed one note to me. The key, I think, is adding come cooked onion, it helps the texture, depends the flavors and gives it a much needed savory note.
Of course once I figured out how to make the ketchup work to my liking I had to figure out what to serve it with. Turkey meat loaf was on my mind because we had ordered ground turkey from Wise Organics, initially I was thinking for burgers but I love a good meat loaf, so I started to look for some recipe inspiration….again sometimes I read recipes and wonder what people are thinking? Worchestire sauce, skim milk, chicken stock, ketchup, skim milk, bread crumbs? It all seems a little bit too processed and bland to me. Also I don’t understand why the addition of extra liquid?
Bread crumbs have many good uses but to just add them to meat as a filler or binder seems kind of like a missed opportunity to me when you can use potatoes.
Concord Grape Ketchup
Remove the stems from 3 lbs of Concord Grapes, rinse and place in a large heavy bottomed pot. Cook over medium heat (I covered them, checking in every few minutes to give a stir and see how they were doing) for about 10 minutes until they have broken down.
In a skillet heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil add 1 large roughly chopped onion and cook for about 5 minutes until it is translucent.
Remove the grapes from the heat and sieve into the container of a blender, discard the solids.
Add the cooked onions along with 1 c brown sugar, 1 c cane sugar, 1 t cinnamon1 t ground cloves, 1 t ground allspice, 1 t ginger powder, 1/2 t mustard powder, 1/4 t cayenne, 1 1/2 t salt and 6 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar in the blender with the grape juice/pulp.
Blend until smooth and pour back into a heavy bottomed pot. Add 2 bay leaves, bring to a simmer and cook on a low heat for about an hour.
Adjust the seasoning adding freshly ground black pepper to taste. Remove the bay leaves and ta da Grape Ketchup. Yum.
You can either can this (2 pint jars) or just place it in a clean resealable container in the fridge.
Turkey meat loaf is a weird thing. The recipes I read all sounded kind of bad and the comments on so many of the sites I looked made a lot of the recipes sound really unpleasant. In some instances people are making it with low fat ground turkey breast, so it’s dry, mealy, chewy and tasteless. So the first thing is if you are going to make it use organic ground turkey that is a mixture of light and dark meat. The recipe that follows I have only made once, it was delicious and brilliant with the grape ketchup, but, I made it using a method describe in many recipes which is that you take the raw meatloaf mixture and put it on a sheet try and mold it into a loaf shape. Mine did not cut well it fell apart. It was better the next day, but when I contemplated all the things I could do to make it easier to cut (more eggs or egg whites, bread crumbs…) I decided to just make it in a different shape. I like the idea of single portions, it makes for a lovely presentation with a little salad or green beans on the side and you don’t have to worry about trying to get that elusive perfect slice.
Individual Turkey Meat Loaf
Preheat an oven to 425 F
Cut into chunks 2 cups of red skin new potatoes and boil in salty water till soft, drain and reserve.
Meanwhile in a skillet om medium heat add 4 T of olive oil and lightly saute 2 roughly chopped large onions, 6 finely chopped garlic cloves and 6-8 branches of Thyme.
Cook for about 8 minutes, you want the onions to be translucent but not brown. Take off the heat
Add 2 teaspoons of salt 1 teaspoon of freshly grated black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes into the onion mixture and let cool.
When cook remove the thyme branch ripping off with your fingers as many as the leaves as you can and discarding the stems.
Add the cooked potatoes and 1 heaping tablespoon of grain mustard and with a masher mix it all together into a sloppy mashed potato mixture. Adjust seasoning remembering it should be highly seasoned as it will be diluted when mixed with the unseasoned ground turkey.
In a large bowl place a generous 2 pounds of ground organic turkey, mix in 2 well beaten large eggs and with a wooden spoon or your hands add the potato mixture.
This will be fairly wet, but still hold together, place about 1 cup of mixture in large 3″ muffin tins. It should make about a dozen (I will do this the next time I make it and report back) or if you are really fancy and have those mini loaf tins they would be swell, but be sure to adjust the amount you use to fit what ever tin you make it in with the knowledge that they will shrink be swimming in juice ( a drip pan would be a good idea)
Cook for about 25 minutes or until they reach 170F on a meat thermometer. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
If you do this before I get to making the smaller version please let me know how it goes!