After doing the Reimagined Turducken I was thinking about a “Turducken Meatloaf”. I put that on the back burner since I wasn’t totally enamored with the Reimagined Turducken.
It did get me wondering if I could get the taste of Thanksgiving in a meatloaf. I snooped around a little on the internet and saw that my idea wasn’t totally original (but then what is?) and came up with my own twist.
Ground turkey (2 pounds – 3:1 ratio of white meat to thigh meat)
Chicken bouillon (optional)
Whole berry cranberry sauce
Crispy turkey skin bits
Skin the thighs (and breasts if you buy bone-in/skin on)
Fry the skin in a skillet on low to medium heat until the skin is crispy and the desired color of brown (deep frying is also a good option)
To add crispness, drain the skin on a paper towel, chop it finely and put it under the broiler for a few minutes. Be sure to watch so your bits don’t burn, then turn out onto another paper towel and reserve for later.
Empty cranberry sauce into a saucepan with brown sugar to taste. Bring to a simmer and blend thoroughly with an immersion blender. Add lime juice to taste to add a little acidic note, but not really taste the lime.
Reserve to glaze the loaf.
Mix the ground turkey, sautéed chopped onions, stuffing mix (prepare per box recipe but do not heat water), and beaten eggs. Add more liquid in the form of chicken bouillon, heavy cream or water if needed to create a moist mixture.
Form a small amount of the meat mixture into a patty about the size of a silver dollar and fry till done to test the spice mixture and moistness.
If satisfied with the flavor, form into a loaf on a small sheet pan covered with non-stick aluminum foil and bake at 350F for about 30-45 minutes.
After 30-45 minutes, glaze the loaf thoroughly with the cranberry glaze and return to the oven till the loaf reaches a temperature of at least 160F. (About 45 more minutes)
Reserve some of the glaze for serving at the table.
Remove the loaf from the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Top with crispy turkey skin bits before slicing and serving.
This was deemed to be the “best after the taco loaf”!
You really could imaging Thanksgiving dinner when you taste this loaf. Especially, if you added a little turkey gravy. In this case I used Turkey flavored stuffing mix. I think it would have been even more like Thanksgiving if I had used cornbread stuffing mix. I grew up in Oklahoma and that’s what we had.
If you grew up with a different type of stuffing, you could certainly modify the recipe to use something closer to your happy place.
I used about 1/8 cup less than the volume of liquid called for in the stuffing mix and substituted about 1/4 cup of heavy cream for some of the water to add fat to the mixture.
Turkey and chicken loaves have a reputation for being dry, so I used two strategies in this recipe to combat that issue. One was the heavy cream mentioned above and the other was the use of thigh meat for about 25% of the loaf mixture. Not only does the thigh meat add more flavor to the loaf, the fat from the thighs helps keep the loaf moist.
Interesting fact: In Asia, wings and thighs are prized for their flavor and breast meat is not considered to be very desirable.