On a lark, I did Thanksgiving several days ago, so we are already deeply involved with leftover turkey. This is a good thing! ;-> I thinned down some Turkey a la King into Cream of Turkey soup, and it was incredibly rich and delicious. I had made eight little loaves of whole wheat bread, and thinly sliced, they make a delightful crunch with the soup.
There was a raincheck for red peppers lurking in my purse, and the raspberries were on special this week, so Vitamin Red ruled! I wasn’t quite quick enough on the shutter, though, to capture the entire plate of red pepper strips. Stealthy little fingers removed them about as fast as I could put them on the plate!
BONUS: There is about a gallon of wonderful turkey broth in the refrigerator awaiting use.
I make our polenta with it, and the richness is indescribable. I found a specialty polenta that boasts that it has kale in it, and I’m sure that’s what those little green flecks are, but the best part is the overall flavor. The label says that there is Parmesan cheese solids in it, so I presume that is what gives it the unique flavor.
The first time I made it, I used their instructions on the package, and neither of us liked it because it was overpoweringly strong. So the next polenta day, I used one part of the “kale” polenta and four parts of regular. Ah! Perfect – a real taste treat.
My introduction to polenta was well over thirty years ago when Sunset Magazine did a piece showing grilled salmon, with a side of polenta with black beans on top. That picture stayed in my mind for a very long time, and about 25 years ago, I tried it out for the first time. Needless to say, I was well and truly hooked! If you are concerned about GMO corn (and we are!), it is available as an organic, and that is what I use. It is a bit more expensive, but what they have done to corn . . . OY! So the few extra cents of cost per serving is well worth it.
For those of you who have seen the exceedingly overpriced tubes of prepared polenta in the grocery store, please know that making it yourself provides about the cheapest thing you can serve as a side dish. It takes only half a cup of grain to two cups of water/other fluid (4:1 ratio), and the taste is really good. It is mild, yet has an ambience of its own. As you have probably seen multiple times in my pictures, it goes exceptionally well with poached eggs. If you like cheese, Cheddar mixed in at the end, or shredded on top is a wonderful addition. Right now we can get roasted New Mexico green chiles, so they come into play as well. For salsa lovers, a nice dollop is welcomed.
I have not tried to use it in the traditional Italian way . . . that is to chill it, and then slice and fry it, topping with a tomato sauce. Well, actually I did give it a whirl once about twenty years ago, but found it unappealing because of the grease needed to fry it.
It comes together more quickly than you might imagine, so don’t be intimidated by recipes that say things like “stir constantly over low heat for 40 minutes”. That just isn’t necessary. It takes a few minutes of hands-on attention while it starts to thicken up, but then you can turn the fire off for a while to let the burner cool down, and then back on LOW, and give it a stir every time you think of it while cooking the rest of the meal. When you can see a track left in the mass as you stir it, it should be finished. Turn the burner off, and it will continue to absorb the fluid and stay warm while you do last-minute prep to the rest of the meal.
If you want to see for yourself – and it really is incredibly easy to make – check out the Bob’s Red Mill section at your local grocery and get a small package of it to try.