Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Apple-Cranberry Turkey Loaf with Pumpkin-Maple-Orange Sauce

I love the colors and flavors of fall. Few meatloaves better capture this season than my Apple-Cranberry Turkey Loaf with Pumpkin-Maple-Orange Sauce. The colors of this meatloaf pop against the whiteness of the ground turkey breast. You will enjoy the vibrant orange pumpkin sauce, the emerald green of the chopped parsley, and the violet-red of the fresh cranberries.*

The loaf is delicious too. The sauce and loaf taste wonderful separately, but it's really the combination of the two--the balance of the tartness of the apples and cranberries with the gentle sweetness of the sauce--that makes this dish sing.

This loaf is super-easy to prepare and cooks relatively quickly. The most time-consuming aspect is the prep work (dicing the apples, chopping the onions, slicing the cranberries), which you can lessen by purchasing pre-chopped ingredients or by using a food processor or chopper contraption. This recipe is great for an autumn weeknight!

Ingredients for Apple-Cranberry Turkey Loaf
1 lb. ground turkey breast
300 grams granny smith apples, peeled and diced small, but not finely (about 2.5 apples)
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
82 grams fresh cranberries, sliced
About 1/4 cup chopped parsley
62 grams finely diced yellow onion
1.5 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground sage
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp celery seeds
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup Egg Beaters

Ingredients for Pumpkin-Maple-Orange Sauce
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar-free maple syrup
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp. orange zest
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all loaf ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly, preferably with your hands, but avoid squeezing the mixture. Use your hands like paddles.

Mold the mixture into a loaf shape in a pan that has been coated with nonstick spray or lined with parchment paper. Bake the loaf for 20 minutes.

While the loaf is baking, combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring the sauce to a hearty simmer, then remove it from the heat. (Doing this will remove any "raw" flavor from the pumpkin and will help blend the flavors of the ingredients.)

After the first 20 minutes of baking, remove the loaf from the oven. Use about 1/3 to 1/2 of the sauce to lightly coat the entire loaf, and then return it to the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Remove the loaf from the oven, and serve with the remainder of the delicious sauce.

Makes 12 servings.

Nutritional Information
Each serving contains about 84 calories, 10.5 grams of protein, and 6.7 net grams of carbohydrate.

Garnish with whole cranberries, fresh sage, and perhaps orange rind or slices. Serve with a cinnamon swirl milkshake or have a cinnamon, pumpkin, or gingerbread protein drink for dessert: With this loaf, no side dishes are needed. All of the necessary flavor and textural components are already there, as the apples will retain their crunch if you don't dice them too finely.

*You will enjoy said colors, not through my grainy photo, but rather when you prepare this yourself! Sorry about the picture quality.

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