Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Year of Deer, Episode 19: Gorgonzola & Dried Cranberry Slow-Cooker Meatloaf

After an unintentional hiatus from the realm of venison cookery, I am back with a new episode! Going into the preparation of this meal, I was both excited and skeptical. I've only made and/or eaten meatloaf a handful of times, but I'm familiar enough with the dish to know that cheese and fruit in meatloaf is not normal. However, when I found the recipe, something about the combination of Gorgonzola and dried cranberries and meat really appealed to me. It sounded fancy; gourmet even. I also wasn't so sure about making meatloaf in a loaf pan, in my crock pot (I've always made it as a free-form lump/loaf in the oven). However, Stephanie told me I could do it, and she has yet to steer me wrong. I made some modifications to her original recipe to accommodate what I had on hand, and here's what I came up with:

Gorgonzola & Dried Cranberry Slow-Cooker Meatloaf

1 lb ground venison (you could use lean ground beef or turkey instead)
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 Tb dried minced onion
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 Tb chopped fresh basil
1 large egg
cooking spray

In a large mixing bowl, combine meat, salt, pepper, onion, bread crumbs, cranberries, cheese, basil, and egg. Mash it all together with your hands until the ingredients are well incorporated into the meat. Spray an 8x4 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Press the meat mixture into the pan, and place the pan into the stoneware of your 6-qt oval crockpot. (According to Stephanie, if you have a 3.5 or 4 qt round crockpot, you can plop the meat in a large round blob directly into the stoneware that's been coated with cooking spray.) Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 7-8 hours. The meatloaf is done when it is cooked through and has browned on top and darkened along the edges. Lift the meatloaf out of the crockpot and let stand on a cutting board for 15 minutes before cutting.
The Verdict: This is like no meatloaf I've ever had; it's so much better! The gorgonzola gives it a little tang, while the cranberries add a little sweetness. I served it with a salad of baby greens, diced apple, grapes, dried cranberries, sliced almonds, and gorgonzola, tossed with a cinnamon-pear balsamic vinaigrette, a side of wild rice, and some rosemary bread. (In retrospect, aside from the salad it was a rather monochromatic plate. Oh well, it tasted good!) It's been a while since I've been this excited about a meal I've prepared. For dessert I made Stephanie's Blueberry Buckle recipe in my 2-qt mini slow cooker - served a la mode, of course. A perfect ending to a super easy and yummy meal.


Kristin said...

Oh YUM!!!! This sounds divine Suz! I'm bookmarking it for future reference.- Although I'm not a big meatloaf girl, it's SUCH a comfort food, and I can't wait to try it in the Fall. Will you post the link for it in the comments on the Recipe Exchange Page at Windy Poplars? You'll see the tab for it at the top. I have a feeling I'm not the only one who would love it :-) Thanks for stopping by and for your sweet comment about my room makeover. It was really fun to do! Enjoy your Wednesday to the full!

Kristin said...

Thanks Suz!