Turkey Meatloaf Holiday “Cupcakes”

Holiday Season is here! I am so stinkin’ excited I can barely contain myself. This seems like the one time of year where crafters can throw it all on the table and not have to get too major of a side eye from non-crafters. You know the one. The look that ever so slightly says, “What is wrong with you? Why would you even THINK of making something like that? Can’t you just buy (fill in the blank)?” And we know the answer to that look: Of course not. It wouldn’t be as much FUN if we went out and just bought something for the Thanksgiving potluck. Or opened a can, ordered it from a bakery or just reheated a frozen thing. It’s not as cute, it’s not as personal, and it’s just not the holidays.

There is an annual potluck here that is always extravagant in its offerings. I love to try and come up with the most outlandish or kitschy items to make. There is a heavy vegan contingent so the dishes usually split down the middle between decadent vegan fare and aggressively meaty thanksgiving offerings. I usually like to go with the aggressively meaty, so without further ado, today’s Making Shit: Turkey Meatloaf “Cupcakes.”

Turkey Meatloaf Cupcakes

I heard an offhanded comment on an NPR show about “What’s New” this holiday in the cooking scene. I don’t know if they were joking, but they mentioned meaty cupcakes. This got my imagination going and when it came time to create something for the potluck, they were all I could think about.

The Recipes

Makes 18 (with extra potatoes left over)

Turkey Meatloaf

  • 2 T Butter
  • 2 c  Onion- diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs Ground Turkey (93/7%)
  • 1 c breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 1 T &1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1.5 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

1. Melt Butter in skillet on medium heat

2. Sauté onion and garlic in the butter until soft (about 5 minutes)

3. Pour sauteed onion/garlic in to a large mixing bowl to cool.

4. Combine turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper with the cooled onion/garlic.

5. Press the mixture in to well oiled muffin tins. Fill it to the lip of the tin and press flat. You will want a smooth surface to pipe the mashed potato “frosting” on top.

6. Bake @ 350° F for 20-25 minutes until no longer pink in the center and the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

7. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes to cool and separate from the tin. Once rested, run a knife along inside of muffin cups to loosen and remove to plate or foil lined cookie sheet for “frosting.”

Mashed Potatoes

I don’t really use an exact recipe for mashed potatoes since the size and starchiness of the potatoes varies. I go more on a texture/taste basis. If I were making mashed potatoes to serve as a side, I would use Yukon Golds, but the starchiness of the Russet helps it keep its shape when piped on top of the mini meatloaves.

  • 4 -5 Russet Potatoes
  • 1/8-1/4 c Heavy Cream
  • ½ – ¾ c Butter (Salted or Un- your preference)
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • 5 quarts Water

1. Scrub and peel potatoes. Cut in to 1 inch chunks.

2. Place in pot and pour in water just until water covers the potatoes. Add 1 tsp salt and boil until soft (a fork can easily pierce through).

3. Drain potatoes and place in mixing bowl if you want to do it “right” and protect your cookware or if you hate doing dishes like me, back in the pot you just boiled them in.

4. Add about 4 Tbsp cream and about 2 Tbsp butter to the cooked and still warm potatoes. Mash lightly with fork, incorporating the cream and butter. Add more cream/butter until mixture is a creamy, whipped texture and the butter and cream are evenly distributed throughout the mixture. Don’t overdo the mashing- it can make the potatoes a little “gluey.”

5. Salt and Pepper to taste. Set aside to cool slightly.

The Construction

Once the potatoes are no longer insanely hot, you will spoon about 3 -4 cups in to a gallon sized Ziplock bag, or fancy-schmance pastry bag with whatever decorative tip you’d like if you have one.

Snip a small hole in the corner tip of the Ziplock bag, and test/practice your piping in the bowl of potatoes. Get a feel for how the potatoes come out and if you need to increase the size of the hole. Always start smaller than you think with the hole. You can always increase the size of the tip, but you will never get back those precious minutes of your life re-spooning the still-warm potatoes in to a new baggie to get a better piping hole size.

In a circular motion, pipe the potatoes on top of the mini meatloaves until it looks like a swirly delicious cup of fro-yo.

The Garnish Topping

I bought what I though was a can of actual in-tact whole cranberry sauce, but was really a mushy gelatinous mess (I don’t much care for cranberry sauce and don’t really know the first thing about what comes in those mystery cans). I still really wanted my so-called cherry on top, so I just shaped little spoon-tip fulls of the cranberry gel and plopped it on top. It worked out pretty well given that the potatoes had cooled quite a bit by this point. I think had they still been much warmer, it would have melted all over the top. If you know how to shop for cooked whole cranberries (unlike myself apparently) or enjoy cooking them, I recommend going the actual whole berry route for presentation. All that being said, the little dollop of cranberry was very tasty when mixed in with the flavors of the turkey meatloaf and potatoes, so if the canned gelatin stuff is all you have available, it definitely isn’t out of the question as a topping.

That’s all there is! This was a really, really fun project and everyone who saw them and especially those who ate them, absolutely loved them. If you are a little competitive like I am, and really enjoy making things that create conversations or just want your dish to stand out at a potluck, these are definitely your go-to recipe this holiday season.

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