Turkey and Cranberry Meatloaf

I’ve always been intrigued by meatloaf – the foodstuff, not the singer (though much love for him as well).  Perhaps it was due to the Simpsons referencing it frequently, and their dinnertime stock meal seeming to consist of it, but there was something so fascinating about the idea.  Here in the UK, it has never had any sort of footing.  It wasn’t served in school, I never knew of friends having it, and it wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I finally tried it on a trip to the US.  Of course, we have all of the constituent parts readily available, but it seems to be a meal very much rooted in 1950s America that just never caught on here.

A few years ago I attempted to make some of my own, following a wonderful recipe by Chef John from Foodwishes.  A few days ago, while planning various Christmas dishes in my head, I was thinking about making sage and onion stuffing by using different liquids other than water.  Suddenly, I was transported to that time I made meatloaf, mixing up a slurry of breadcrumbs and milk.  I was gripped by inspiration and decided to try and make a festive meatloaf – one which makes use of the abundance of turkey and cranberries we find around us this time of year.

It is worth saying, the sage and onion stuffing mix I use in this recipe is the British variety, in which the mix is made of very fine breadcrumbs.  From my understanding of the larger, more crouton-esque American mix, you may want to give it a blitz in a blender or savage beating with a rolling pin.

Ingredients (Serves approx 4)

  • 500g Turkey mince – ideally breast, but only because I’ve always found thigh mince smells like wet dog.
  • Approx 80g sage and onion stuffing mix
  • A few glugs of milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Red onion
  • 2-3 Cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Splash of oil
  • 1 jar cranberry sauce
  • 10-12 rashers streaky bacon


  • Mix the milk and stuffing mix together in a bowl and leave to absorb for 10 minutes, until it becomes the consistency of a typical stuffing.  Break in and mix the egg.
  • Chop the red onion and fry in a little oil until soft and translucent.  Add the crushed garlic and cook for a further minute, before mixing with the stuffing.
  • Use your hands to combine the mince and stuffing until largely homogenous.  Line a loaf tin with bacon, so that it covers the bottom and the sides of the tin, before packing in the 3/4 turkey mixture.  Use the back of a spoon to make small channel in the middle of the loaf and spoon in 2/3 cranberry sauce.  Top with the remaining turkey and compress well so it doesn’t fall apart when slicing later.
  • Bake , covered with foil, at 180C for 40 minutes.  Remove the foil, spread over the remaining cranberry sauce and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until the sauce has become sticky but not burnt.
  • Allow to stand for 10 minutes before carefully lifting out of the tin.  Slice and serve.

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