Believe it or not, I’m still reheating Thanksgiving…
Turkey Polenta Cakes, served with salsa and guacamole
A decidedly American take on the classic Italian dish
- 1 cup onion, cut in 1/4-inch dice
- 6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms, mixed varieties
- 2 carrots, shredded
- a couple cups of leftover turkey, picked from the bones and/or cut into small pieces
- 4 cups turkey stock, made from the carcass of your Thanksgiving bird
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, divided
- salt, pepper, ginger, and crushed red pepperto taste
- Heat a large (#10) cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once it is hot, add about 2 Tbl butter along with some black pepper and ginger. Let the butter melt, then add your diced onion and about 1/4 tsp kosher salt.
- Cook the onion for about 7-8 minutes or until the onion has started to brown at the edges, stirring about once per minute.
- Add the garlic and cook about 2 minutes, stirring 2-3 times.
- Add 2 Tbl butter, let melt.
- Add the sliced mushrooms, along with some ginger and a touch of crushed red pepper. Cook 10-15 minutes, stirring 1-2 times per minute. Pay more attention to the mushrooms the longer they cook. We’re looking for them to caramelize nicely but not to scorch or burn.
- When the mushrooms look gorgeous, add the turkey stock and bring it to a boil.
- Once he stock is at a rolling boil, whisk the cornmeal in at a steady drizzle. Add it slowly and keep that whisk moving in order to avoid lumps!
- Once the cornmeal has been incorporated evenly into the stock, turn the heat down to a simmer and add the shredded carrots into the pan. Cook at low heat, stirrign occasionally, for 30-40 minutes.
- At this point, you’ve got a really tasty cornmeal mush. I highly recommend taking a couple bowlfuls out for a meal or a side dish for today’s meal, because the polenta has to cool overnight before it’s ready to be made into the cakes (now you get what I meant above by leftover leftovers.). Plus this mush is delicious—it’s like turkey stew and biscuits all in one steaming bowl of goodness!
- Let the rest of the polenta cool or 20-30 minutes, then use a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover the entire pan to press it down to uniform depth.
- Let it cool a while longer to room temperature, then run a rubber spatula around the edge of the pan and invert the pan onto a clean countertop (with the parchment still in place). The polenta should drop out of the pan onto the parchment. Wrap it up and refrigerate it overnight.
- Day two, cut the polenta into cakes. Heat your skillet (which you should have cleaned in the meantime) over medium heat. Add 2 Tbl butter to the pan, let it melt. Cook half of the cakes in this butter, flipping after 5-6 minutes or when golden brown and cooking the other side for another 5-6 minutes. Remove to a sheet tray in a warm (200°) oven while you cook the other half of the cakes in the other 2 Tbl of butter.
- Serve with salsa and guacamole or your favorite condiments.