I recently watched an episode of Rachael Ray’s cooking show, “Week in a Day,” and I thought it did a great job of showing what life is like as a personal chef.

I often make up to 5 custom meals like the turkey meatloaf recipe below in a time span of 4 to 5 hours. Sometimes I cook for a family of four while other times it’s a family of two. In any case, I can always accommodate for allergies or food preferences.

For example, I could easily make this meatloaf gluten free, or if you told me you didn’t eat turkey, I could substitute ground chicken in place of the turkey. Don’t like dried cranberries? Maybe dried cherries would work for you instead.

About the Turkey Meatloaf Recipe

This recipe intrigued me as it provides a holiday spin on turkey meatloaf. In the show, Rachael Ray suggested it would make an excellent meatloaf sandwich; I have to agree. The texture was outstanding, and it was genius to use holiday stuffing instead of regular breadcrumbs! You’ll be amazed just how moist and juicy a meatloaf can be.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for drizzling
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 to 3 small stalks celery with leafy tops, finely chopped
  • 1 small Honeycrisp or McIntosh apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed seasoned cornbread or traditional stuffing cubes
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries
  • 2 pounds ground turkey (both white and dark meat)
  • 1 cup shredded or crumbled extra-sharp white cheddar
  • 1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 large egg
  • Cider Gravy (optional), recipe follows
  • Whole berry cranberry sauce (homemade or store-bought), for serving

Cider Gravy

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 rounded Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 1/2 cup cloudy apple cider
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 egg yolk (optional)
  • Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional), for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat the butter and EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the thyme, celery, apples, onions and salt & pepper to taste and cook until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let cool.

Pulse the stuffing cubes in a food processor until crumbs form, then transfer to a bowl and moisten with the chicken stock to soften.

Cover the cranberries with hot water in a bowl and let them soften, then drain them.

Put the turkey in a large bowl and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Add the stuffing crumbs, apple mixture, cranberries, cheese, poultry seasoning and egg and mix gently to combine.

On a parchment-lined baking sheet, form the turkey mixture into a loaf that is 10 inches long and 4 inches high. Drizzle with EVOO and bake until golden and cooked through, 50 to 60 minutes.

Slice the meatloaf and serve with Cider Gravy and cranberry sauce.

Cook’s Notes: Steamed green beans and mashed sweet potatoes are great alongside this meatloaf. For the sweet potatoes, boil 1 peeled and cubed potato per person until tender, then mash with chicken stock, salt, pepper, nutmeg and maple syrup to taste.

The meatloaf can be covered and refrigerated for a make-ahead meal. Reheat in a moderate oven or slice and heat in a pan with chicken stock. The gravy, without the egg yolk, can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. Reheat over medium heat and add the egg yolk as directed.

Cider Gravy

Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the stock, cider and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and lots of pepper. Simmer until the gravy is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Lightly beat the egg yolk, if using, in a medium bowl. Slowly pour in some of the gravy, whisking constantly to temper the yolk. Whisk in the remaining gravy. Transfer to a gravy boat or serving dish and garnish with parsley, if desired.

Download and print the recipe here.

Do you like turkey meatloaf? What do you think of the holiday spin this recipe provides?

Mary Hathaway, Owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to: Dinner-Diva.com for more info.

Photo Credit: Kurman Communications, Inc.