A little tweaking and some quality ingredients can take what looks like a pretty ho-hum standard and make it a whole lot more interesting. Case in point: meatloaf and ketchup. The meatloaf was just plain old boring ground turkey, but I used a good-sized spoonful of freshly ground magic spice blend (see here) and the remains of the duck breast from a couple of posts ago minced fine to add extra flavor and richness. I also made a panade with milk, a beaten egg, panko, and a drop of cognac, and added in a little bit of rendered duck fat for juiciness.
While it baked, I steamed sweet potatoes and sautéed kale with onions, garlic, and a little more duck fat. I also mixed tomato purée, papaya juice, kimchi brine, dashi, ume vinegar, mustard, agave syrup, maple syrup, and some red wine together, simmered them down, and then blasted it all smooth with the immersion blender. It tasted EXACTLY like ketchup, only better–more intense and interesting. A little xanthan would have helped with the syneresis. Combined with the very nice meatloaf, the result was much, much better than it had any right to be considering the half-assedness of the process.