Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Apple, Sage, and Turkey Meatloaf

Apple, Sage and Turkey Meatloaf
Adapted from Whole Foods Market

I have made this turkey meatloaf about three or four times already. Meatloaf is my favorite type of comfort food and the only type of meatloaf I make nowadays are with turkey or chicken so I am always searching for a good turkey or chicken meatloaf. This meatloaf recipe uses fresh apples which at first I didn't know whether I wanted to try this recipe because I'm not a fan of fresh fruit and meats cooked together. I recall eating Aidells Chicken and Apple Sausages and I do love these sausages, so why not try this meatloaf. I'm so glad I did because this meatloaf is really good. The apples are cooked down so you don't notice there are apples in your meatloaf, but the apples makes the meatloaf tender and moist and the sage is so aromatic. I tried the meatloaf with a combination of Granny Smith and Gala varieties. Another time I used entirely Pink Lady variety and another time I used entirely Gala variety. Each time, it turns out good.

I prefer using a food processor to grate the apples rather than a box grater. The box grater extracts a lot of juice which I didn't know whether to discard the juice or save the juice to add to the meatloaf. The juice turned brown sitting out for awhile which didn't look appetizing for me to save so I threw it out. Using a food processor gets the job done in seconds and there are no juice extracted from the apples. So if you have a food processor, use it. If you are using your box grater, I suggest grating your apples right when you are ready to use the grated apples so you can also use the juice.
For those who are not planning to roast a turkey for Thanksgiving, I'm thinking this will be a great alternative.
Apple, Sage and Turkey Meatloaf
2 large apples (about 1 to 1:3.0 pounds at purchase), peeled, cored and grated (12.8 to 14.1 ounces after grating) (See tip on coring apples posted at the end)
One-half of a large red or yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup or 7.0 ounces)
2/3 cup dry plain bread crumbs or homemade whole-grain breadcrumbs (posted at the end) (1.7 ounces)
1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk (4.0 ounces)
2 pounds lean ground turkey
1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves, finely minced (0.4 ounce)
1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard (0.5 ounce)
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasonings
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 tablespoons tomato sauce (3.0 ounces)
2 teaspoons agave nectar (0.3 ounce)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Position oven rack to the center of the oven. Lightly coat a large shallow-rimmed baking sheet with nonstick olive oil spray. Set aside.

In a very large mixing bowl, combine the grated apples, onion, bread crumbs and milk. Toss to combine and let sit for about 5 minutes to soften the bread crumbs.

Add the ground turkey, egg, sage, mustard, poultry seasonings, salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix until thoroughly combined. Transfer mixture to the baking sheet and shape the mixture into a 10-inch by 5-inch size loaf.

In a small bowl, stir together the tomato sauce, agave nectar and salt. Spread the mixture over the meatloaf, leaving the top more heavily coated than the sides.

Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Let sand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Yields 3 to 4 servings

Served with mashed Yukon Gold potatoes and Microwave Steamed Spinach.
Homemade 100% whole-grain breadcrumbs: Use any 100% multi-grain, whole-grain or whole wheat bread of your choice, but make sure it is 100%. Toast bread slices in the toaster until toasty browned. Cool completely. Remove crust from each slice of toast, cut into cubes and place into the food processor. Process until fine crumbs: it may take several on/off pulses in the beginning and then let it run continuously until you achieve fine crumbs (about 2 to 3 minutes), depending on the type of bread you are using. Transfer bread crumbs to a shallow-rimmed baking sheet and spread the crumbs out evenly. Let the bread crumbs air-dry overnight to 1 to 2 days. Transfer bread crumbs to an airtight container and store in the freezer. Whenever you need bread crumbs, just scoop out a desired amount. Don't need to thaw, it can use right away.
Tip on coring your apples: I learn this from foodwishes.com. After peeling your apples, cut each apple into fourths. Lay each quarter on its side and trim away the core. It's so much easier to remove the core this way and you have less apples to waste. Thanks to Chef John for this tip.