Moist, flavorful meatloaf topped with decadently delicious balsamic cranberry sauce with hints of ginger, herbs and brown sugar. A meal suited for the holidays, yet easy enough for a weeknight dinner.
I’m having a moment with this huge hunk of meat.
How many of you have been thinking of unorthodox ways to use up all those juicy cranberries we keep seeing in the produce isle? They just look so plump and beautiful I can’t even help myself. I was determined to use the use the most recent bag I bought for something besides just cranberry sauce or a crostini topping.
…But while we’re on the topic… this cranberry sauce + brie + toasted crostini’s = appetizer heaven!
So tell me, are you a meatloaf lover or loather? I feel like people typically have strong feelings about it one way or the other. I used to be the latter until I convinced myself that meatloaf is really just one humungous meatball. Ever since, i’ll take it sliced with a little ketchup, stuffed in a sandwich, stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon, or hey, why not doused in a sweet and tangy cranberry sauce?
As good as it taste, It’s almost impossible to make meatloaf look pretty. It’s a total nightmare to photograph. But I trust that you guys will just take my word that it tastes immensely better than it may look.
I can totally picture this being served at a Friendsgiving, Christmas Eve dinner or just a standard Thursday night. You could swap the beef for ground turkey or even add a little turkey sausage for extra flavor.
Full disclosure: you probably will not love this dish if you’re not a big fan of cranberry sauce. Don’t get me wrong, the meatloaf itself is delicious, but the sauce really steals the show as far as flavor. You could always leave the sauce off or just swap it for a standard ketchup topping.
I personally love the juicy red bulbs, not only for their tart flavor, but more importantly for their nutrient profile. Cranberries are loaded with phytonutrients and anti-inflammatory properties. Combined with their high Vitamin C and antioxidant content, they’re the ideal fruit to add to your diet around this time of year when colds and other bugs are spreading like wildfire. Eek!
- 1 lb 96% lean ground beef
- ⅓ cup seasoned bread crumbs
- ½ cup grated or finely diced onion
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp dried herbs - I used Herbs de Provence
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- ----Balsamic Cranberry Sauce----
- 1.5 cups fresh cranberries
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 tbsp + 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- Optional: 2 tsp adobe sauce for a little heat - highly recommend!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- In a large bowl, combine all meatloaf ingredients and mix with your hands until everything is evenly combined.
- Place the meatloaf mixture into a greased loaf pan (either 4x8 or 5x9) and press to make compact in the pan. Or you can form a free-standing loaf onto a lined baking sheet.
- Place in the oven and bake for ~50 minutes.
- During the last 15 minutes of bake time, start making the cranberry sauce by combining all ingredients in a medium-sized sauce pan.
- Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for ~15 minutes until the most of the cranberries have burst and the sauce thickens.
- Remove meatloaf from the oven and coat with balsamic cranberry sauce. Slice and serve!