Pilgrim Meatloaf

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min
  • Prep: 25 min
  • Inactive: 10 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 10 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon 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 (mix of 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


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. Heat the butter and EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the thyme, celery, apples, onions, and salt and pepper to taste and cook until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let cool. 
  3. Pulse the stuffing cubes in a food processor until crumbs form, then transfer to a bowl and moisten with the chicken stock to soften. 
  4. Cover the cranberries with hot water in a bowl and let soften, then drain. 
  5. Put the turkey in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the stuffing crumbs, apple mixture, cranberries, cheese, poultry seasoning and egg and mix gently to combine. 
  6. 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. 
  7. Slice the meatloaf and serve with Cider Gravy and cranberry sauce.

Cider Gravy:

  1. 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.

Cook’s Note

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.