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Natural Wonderer

Intentional food & farming for a more integrated life

Cranberry Pork Loaf

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cranberry-pork-loaf‘Tis the season for fresh and festive cranberries and warm ovens warding off the chill of the first signs of winter.  It is also one of the busiest times of the year.  Between holiday parties and pageants, shopping, and family gatherings, it is hard to even think about, let alone spend much time, getting meals on the table.

This simple meatloaf variation has a surprising flavor that is refreshingly different yet familiar enough that it isn’t foreign.  It requires few dishes, and it takes less than 15 minutes to prepare AND clean up the preparation mess.  Then you have an hour and fifteen minutes for gift wrapping, playing with the kids, or even kicking back and relaxing while the oven does the work.  Served with your choice of veggies or a salad, it is a perfectly easy and warm meal for a cold winter day.

Of course before I share the recipe I have to tell you about why cranberries are such an excellent winter-time food.  Cranberries are often referred to as a super-food because they provide so many health benefits.  Although the list of reasons to consume these tart berries is long, a few reasons cranberries are an ideal winter food include that they are:

  • anti-inflammatory to counter the effects of busy-ness induced stress (which causes inflammation).
  • high in vitamin C and have been shown to improve overall immune function.
  • mental health boosters that help to relieve holiday stress, anxiety, and depression.

I love how natural foods come into season exactly when we need the specific benefits they provide.  And if the amazing zing and health benefits of cranberries weren't enough to convince me to eat them (they were...), the fact that Wisconsin, where I live, is one of the top cranberry-producing states makes them even more appealing!  Finding fresh, local, organic cranberries isn't a problem around here!

Now for the recipe...

pork-loaf-ingredients

Cranberry Pork Loaf

Ingredients for Cranberry Sauce:

2 cups organic cranberries
1/4-1/2 c. water
1 T. honey (or more to taste)

Directions for Cranberry Sauce:

Mix cranberries and water in a small sauce pan, and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes.  Cranberries will start to pop.  Mash berries to desired consistency.  (If desired consistency is completely smooth, use a blender to process.  I prefer to leave mine a little chunky for flavorful cranberry pockets in the finished product.)  Mix in honey.  Set cranberry sauce aside.

 

Ingredients for Pork Loaf:

2 lbs. organic ground pork
2 eggs
1 ½ t. Real Salt
1 t. chili powder
1 t. garlic powder or 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. apple cider vinegar
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. mustard powder or ground mustard seeds
1/4 t. black pepper, freshly ground
cranberry sauce (reserve about ¼ cup for garnish)

Directions for Pork Loaf:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a medium sized bowl.  Transfer to a loaf pan (I used a 9”x5” pan), and mold into a loaf shape.  Sprinkle thyme and chili powder on top of loaf if desired.  Bake for 1 hour, 15 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the loaf reads 170 degrees.  Remove from oven and immediately spread remaining cranberry sauce over the top of the pork loaf.  Cut into slices and serve hot.

cranberry-pork-loaf

This post was shared at Mostly Homemade Mondays, Thank Goodness It's Monday, Natural Living Monday, Homestead Barn Hop, Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Tuned-In Tuesdays, Wednesday Wellness Link-Up, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesdays, Wildcrafting Wednesdays, Natural Living Link-up, Simple Lives Thursdays, the Homeacre Hop. Thank Your Body Thursdays, Pennywise Platter, Fight Back Fridays, Unprocessed Fridays, Small Footprint Fridays, Natural Family Friday, Old Fashioned Fridays, Whole Food Fridays, Simple Meals FridaysSimply Natural Saturdays, and Clever Chicks Blog Hop.

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12 Comments

  1. I think I might make these into burgers! Yum!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful recipe and something that would be a great dish for the holidays. It has such healthy ingredients. I will have to add this to my recipe list. thanks for sharing. Visiting from Natural Living lInk up. Have a wonderful and healthy Holiday and Christmas.

  3. This looks and sound amazing! I’m sure my husband would looove it. I’d have to make it without a few of the ingredients though, but I’m willing to bet it’d still be delish! :)

  4. Thanks so much for linking up to Natural Family Friday!

  5. Thanks for sharing with Wildcrafting Wednesday!

  6. I’ve never thought or heard of cranberry meat loaf. This sounds absolutely amazing. Thanks for sharing with us at Christmas on The HomeAcre!

    Please join us again Thursday for The HomeAcre Hop:
    http://summersacres.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-homeacre-hop-51.html

    ~Ann

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