Coming off a recent cold snap, and with another cold snap predicted in the coming days, comfort food is a natural go-to in chilly January.

As it so happened, it was in the middle of last week’s winter blast that Antoni Porowski, the food guy of Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” happened to be on “Rachael Ray Show,” preparing a comfort food staple, meatloaf. But this was no ordinary, run-of-the-mill meatloaf. This was a meatloaf stuffed with a block of cheese. You read that right: A meatloaf stuffed with a block of cheese. I was in comfort food heaven.

After a quick internet search of Rachael Ray’s website, I bookmarked the page that featured the two TV personalities making these meal that screamed winter dinner. When Sunday rolled around, it’s what I spent my time making at home, and it was worth it. It’s that mix of hearty comfort mixed with cheesy wonder, and it’s a keeper.

Be sure to get the good sharp cheddar for this recipe. You’ll want to spend that extra dollar or two for a good 8-ounce loaf because it’s what makes the meal. Also, be sure to let it come to room temperature before wrapping the ground turkey around it. Also, don’t skimp on the lemon zest, parsley or coriander in the recipe. Those flavors pop and really make the meal.

 

Turkey Meatloaf With a Block of Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

2 large garlic cloves

2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt

1 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/3 cup ketchup, plus 1/4 cup

1 1/4 cups panko breadcrumbs

1/2 cup whole milk

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 pounds ground turkey, 85% or 93% lean (a mix of light and dark meat)

One 8-ounce block sharp cheddar cheese, at room temperature

1 tablespoon packed light or dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the middle.

Pulse the onion and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion mixture and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley, Worcestershire sauce, lemon zest, coriander, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup ketchup. Transfer to a large bowl, and let cool.

In a large bowl, stir together the panko and milk and let soak 5 minutes. Stir the eggs into the milk mixture, then add to the onion mixture. Add the turkey and 1/2 teaspoon salt and mix well with your hands.

Lightly oil a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Shape about half of the meat mixture into a 9-by-5-inch rectangle in the center of the pan. Gently press the cheese into the center, then cover with the remaining meat, building a little wall (about 1 1/2 inches thick) along the sides of the cheese block and on top, being sure to seal all the seams.

Mix together the brown sugar, black pepper, and the remaining 1/3 cup ketchup, then brush on top of the loaf. Bake until the top is deeply golden and the bottom edges are crisp, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.