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“Wear gratitude like a cloak, and it will feed every corner of your life.” Rumi

Hi there,

I am going to kick off this holiday edition with a recipe post from my friend Chef Ronit Penso. Ronit’s blog is called Tasty Eats, and her recipes can be found at HTTPS://

As Ronit says in her post, not everyone will be part of a big group for the holiday and preparing the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner with all its trimmings can be a burden and also produce a lot of waste. If you are having a small gathering you might want to consider the following recipes.

Turkey, Mushroom Duxelles and Chestnut Meatloaf

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and I was set on making a turkey meatloaf that can be served instead or along with the traditional roasted whole turkey.
To make the meatloaf, I once again used ground dark turkey meat from a local farm, which I’ve used before, and was happy with its quality.
As I was planning to serve the meatloaf with wild rice salad, it occurred to me that I could use some of it in the meatloaf itself. That was a good idea, as the cooked wild rice added a nutty flavor, fiber, and color to the meatloaf. Other tasty additions I’ve used were roasted chestnuts, mushrooms Duxelles, along with raw chopped shallots and fresh celery.
The Mushroom Duxelles (a paste made of cooked finely chopped mushrooms and shallots), gave the meatloaf an intense earthy mushroom flavor that paired wonderfully with the chestnuts and wild rice, while the raw celery and shallots added their freshness and special aroma. A bit of mustard, ketchup, soy sauce, and maple syrup rounded up the flavors.
This tasty and fragrant mixture was then topped with American-made Pancetta, which both added its unique flavor and kept the meatloaf moist while baking.

While the meatloaf can be served immediately after baking, it benefits from spending the night in the fridge. This not only lets the flavors blend better but also makes for easier entertaining.
Served with a crispy fresh wild rice salad and roasted sweet potatoes on the side, creates a plate that is perfect for Thanksgiving dinner and, of course, for any other time of the year. Try it and enjoy it.

* Duxelles is a classic French condiment made of finely chopped mushrooms, shallots, wine, and herbs, cooked together to a paste-like consistency. In some versions, parsley or cream are added, in others, different types of alcohol and types of mushrooms are used. Once prepared, Duxelles can be used in many ways: from simply serving it over toasted bread to flavoring stews, soups, pasta dishes, and more.
* Wild rice is not actually part of the more familiar rice plants but the seeds of a grass native to North America. It has a nutty flavor and chewy texture.
* Vacuum-packed roasted, peeled chestnuts can be found in many supermarkets or online.
* Pancetta is cured, unsmoked pork belly. If you can’t find it or want stronger flavors, use prosciutto or thinly sliced bacon instead.

Mushroom Duxelles 
Makes: 1 cup
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

8 oz (227 grams) white button mushrooms
8 oz (227 grams) brown baby Bella mushrooms
1 large shallot, roughly cut
½ stick (55 grams) butter, cubed
1 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground four peppers mix
1 tsp dried tarragon, crumbled
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 cup semi-dry white wine
½ tsp honey, or sugar

1. Remove the mushroom legs (keep them for stock) and clean them. Cut into large pieces and place in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shallot, and process to an almost paste.
2. Melt the butter and olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped mushrooms mixture, salt, pepper, tarragon, thyme, wine, and honey. Mix well and bring to the verge of the boil.

3. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, occasionally mixing, for half an hour. Taste and adjust seasoning. Reduce the heat to low and cook, occasionally mixing, until the liquids evaporate and the mushrooms turn into a thick, dark paste.

4. The Duxelles will keep, in an airtight container in the fridge, for a week. It can also be frozen for up to two months.

Turkey Meatloaf
Makes: 8-10 portions
Prep time
: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes for the wild rice, 1 hour for Duxelles
Baking time: 45 minutes
Chilling time: overnight (optional)

½ cup wild rice, rinsed
3 cups water
½ cup mushroom Duxelles (from the above recipe)
3.5 oz (100 grams) roasted peeled chestnuts, coarsely chopped
1 lbs (455 grams) of ground dark turkey meat
1/3 cup chopped  fresh celery
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
2 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground four peppers mix
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp ketchup
2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbs maple syrup
1 L egg
¼ cup breadcrumbs
2 oz (55 grams) pancetta, sliced (see notes)

1. Mix the wild rice and water in a medium size pot. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium, and cook for about 45 minutes until most of the kernels burst open. Strain if needed. You should end up with about 2 cups of cooked rice. Cool to room temperature. Measure ½ cup for the meatloaf, and keep the rest for the salad recipe below.

2. Preheat the oven to 340F (170C). Prepare a loaf pan.
3. In a large bowl, mix the turkey meat with the chopped chestnuts, celery, shallot, salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup, soy sauce, and maple syrup.

4. Add the egg and breadcrumbs and mix again. Transfer the mixture into the loaf pan, and level the top with a spatula. Arrange the sliced pancetta on top.

5. Bake for 45 minutes until the meatloaf is set. The meatloaf can be served at this point but will taste better if covered and kept overnight in the fridge.

6. To serve, release from the pan, cut into portions and gently reheat in the oven. The meatloaf can also be served at room temperature.

Wild Rice Salad
Makes: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes (not including cooking of the wild rice)

1½ cups cooked wild rice (see above)
¼ medium fennel heart, small chopped
½ celery stalk, small chopped
1 small red apple, cored and chopped into small cubes
Juice and zest of 1 tangerine (or small orange)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground four peppers mix
2 tsp maple syrup
¼ cup slivered almonds
2 tsp olive oil

Mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and keep at room temperature until serving.

I hope you have enjoyed this recipe and will stop over at Ronit’s blog for more Tasty Eats. And thank you, Ronit, for so kindly letting me republish this menu and recipes.


  1. the Painted Apron – Life is all about creativity for me, as long as I'm creating something I am happy! I hope I will inspire your daily life and give you ideas for your own wonderful creations!
    Jenna says:

    I’ve never seen a turkey meatloaf recipe before, and such a good idea for a small scale Thanksgiving meal. The duxelles sound so good!

  2. The turkey meatloaf sounds and looks really tasty. Love all the herbs and chestnut in there.

  3. Ronit Penso Tasty Eats – NY, NY – Private chef, cookbook author, food journalist and translator. I love traveling and love to find out more about food wherever I go.
    Ronit says:

    Thank you Bernadette, I’m glad to participate in this lovely series, and hope everyone will enjoy the recipes.
    I’d appreciate it if you could please correct my blog address to:
    Thank you! 🙂

  4. V.M.Sang – UK – I was born and educated in the north west of England. I trained as a teacher in Manchester and taught in Salford, Lancashire, Hampshire and Croydon. I write fantasy novels currently. I also make cards, knit, crochet, tat, do cross stitch and paint. I enjoy walking on the Downs, cycling and kayaking. I do not enjoy housework, but like cooking.
    V.M.Sang says:

    These recipes sound delicious. Obviously we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in the UK, but I’m sure some of these can be used for Christmas here.

  5. sammee44 – Victoria, BC – I am a West Coast Reader and Writer who enjoys the big and little things in Life. My philosophy is–if you don't enjoy those precious moments and savour the joy, then how can you appreciate the little things that crosses your daily path?
    sammee44 says:

    Fabulous alternates for a small group at the table. Thank you Bernadette and Chef Ronsit! Will enjoy making this for a Sunday dinner as well as Thanksgiving. . . .

  6. This is a wonderful holiday alternative to the big roast turkey. Love it. Also the use of the dark meat on the turkey, and the French Duxelles really makes for a flavor punch.


  7. Retirement Reflections – Vancouver Island, BC – Prior to retirement, I lived and worked in Beijing China for fourteen years (Middle School Principal/Deputy Director at The Western Academy of Beijing). Leaving international life behind, my husband and I retired to Vancouver Island in June 2015. To document both this transition and our new adventures, ‘Retirement Reflections’ was born. I hope that you enjoy reading these reflections, and will be willing to share your own.
    Retirement Reflections says:

    Hi, Bernadette – This is a wonderful alternative to roasting a full turkey (which continues to fill me with dread). Turkey meatloaf looks like something that I could handle!

  8. Awakening Wonders – Everyday life is filled with wondrous things and embraceable moments, but only if we allow ourselves to be fully awakened. I invite you to join me as I share passionate life adventures and ramblings that awaken my spirit. I look forward to awakening your senses to the simple, joyous wonders that are all around us. I feel that we are destined to become soulful adventurers!
    Awakening Wonders says:

    Bernadette, Thanks for sharing the turkey meatloaf recipe, I have never thought of making a meatloaf with turkey!
    Best fall wishes,

  9. They all sound delicious Bernadette. I am making kabobs for Thanksgiving to take to my sons house. I always look forward to Thanksgiving and not having to cook. However, look out Christmas as everyone comes here then.

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