Make Ahead

Polpettone with Onion-Shallot Jam over Creamy Root Vegetable Purée

March 30, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4, 2 polpettone each
Author Notes

I find fresh horseradish root downright frightening to look at. Here are a few options that will hopefully alleviate some of your fears and let you grab it, tame it!

I've made this root vegetable purée with many varieties and combinations, and threw fresh horseradish into the mix for this contest. I promise never to overlook it again! It gives a whole new depth to the natural sweetness of the parsnips, carrots, and cream.

Yes, polpettone are usually made with ground beef or veal, but at one point I had some ground turkey in need of something to do, and again, I'll never go back. They're tender, with a brightly flavored filling of sun-dried tomatoes, fresh horseradish, mozzarella, and a splash of lemon, finished off with just the right amount of crunch to the crust. Over the top of it all goes a silky, sweet onion and shallot jam lightened with a bit of white wine. —boulangere

What You'll Need
  • Onion-Shallot Jam and Creamy Root Vegetable Purée
  • Good olive oil to generously film pan
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled, fine dice
  • 4 shallots, peeled, fine dice
  • 4 ounces white wine
  • Sea or kosher salt to taste
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled, diced
  • 4 carrots, peeled, diced
  • 3" piece fresh horseradish, peeled, diced
  • 1 quart Heavy cream
  • Sea or kosher salt and white pepper to taste
  • Polpettone and Filling
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, rehydrated and drained
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, 1/2" dice
  • 3" piece fresh horseradish, peeled, fine dice
  • Juice of 1 lemon (not Meyer - too sweet) & zest of 1/2 of it
  • Sea or kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup Panko, preferably fine, unseasoned
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped
  • 2 cups Panko
  • Green garnish of your choice
  1. Onion-Shallot Jam and Creamy Root Vegetable Purée
  2. Prepare onion jam. Generously film bottom of a heavy-bottomed pan or skillet with some good olive oil over medium heat. When warm, add onions and shallots along with a couple of good pinches of salt. Cover pan, and when contents begin cooking nicely, reduce heat. Continue cooking, stirring often (if some bits brown, that's fine, just not too much). When it looks as if much of the water has been cooked away, stir in the white wine. Cook until a sweetly rich, silky concentration is reached. Remove from heat. You'll reheat just before serving.
  3. Alternatively, make twice as much. Store the extra in a container in your refrigerator. Add it to soups, salad dressings, omelettes, grilled cheese sandwiches, or anything you think could benefit from some sweet silken richness.
  4. While jam is reducing, begin cooking the root vegetables. Add cream to a heavy-bottomed stainless steel pot (aluminum will react badly with the lactic acid in the cream causing an off-taste and gray color). Add the vegetables, cover pot and begin heating over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, then reduce heat a bit. Cook, stirring somewhat often, until vegetables can be VERY easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Remove from heat. You will reheat, purée, and season just before serving. It's much easier to reheat in the rough state.
  1. Polpettone and Filling
  2. Prepare filling to set aside and permit flavors to blend. Place rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes, diced mozzarella, horseradish, lemon juice and zest in bowl of food processor. Pulse just until ingredients are relatively uniform in size - very small, but not a puréed paste. Scoop into a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Mix polpettone. Place ground turkey, Panko, egg, salt & pepper, and oregano in a mixing bowl. If you've got gloves, use 'em. Mix ingredients with your hands until completely blended.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  5. Shape and fill polpettone. Again wearing gloves, pick up a sort of small tennis-ball size of turkey mixture. Gently shape it into a ball. Press a large indentation into it with a thumb. With a spoon, scoop a generous amount of filling into it. Pinch it closed, then gently roll the polpettone between your palms to create a small football. Set on parchment. Repeat until all turkey mixture is gone.
  6. If you have filling left over, because not all of us visualize the same small-tennis-ball size, and "generous" can have different meanings, do not despair. Put it in a ziplock bag and freeze it. Use it in ravioli filling, in omelettes - you get my drift.
  7. Before baking, pour 2 cups Panko into a baking dish. Gently pick up each polpettone. Place in Panko, and with your hands gather it up around sides and end of polpettone. Turn it over and repeat on other side. Repeat until all polpettone have been coated.
  8. Bake polpettone until gently browned and and instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 165 degrees, about 20 minutes.
  9. While polpettone are baking, reheat root vegetables. When nicely hot, remove from heat and purée right in the pot with an immersion blender (if you don't have one, this would be an excellent reason to get one - and I don't take on new appliances quickly). Season to taste with salt and pepper. It should take your breath away, by the way. Also reheat the lovely onion-shallot jam.
  10. To serve, spread a puddle of the root vegetable purée in the center of each plate. Set two polpettone in it and top with the onion-shallot jam. Garnish with green of your choice - chopped fennel fronds, Italian parsley, basil chiffonade. Have a lovely dinner!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • boulangere
  • pauljoseph
  • lorigoldsby
  • arcane54

9 Reviews

boulangere April 5, 2011
It was on the fly and I was trying to get two plates in the shot. What can I say, hopefully I cook better than I photograph! Hope you like it.
pauljoseph April 5, 2011
Yes I like very much
boulangere April 5, 2011
Thank you!
pauljoseph April 5, 2011
great excellent .Change shooting angles for better photo
boulangere March 31, 2011
Well,'s a little scary to take in at first sight, don't you think? And it's a huge leap of faith from sight to taste!
lorigoldsby March 31, 2011
"I find fresh horseradish root downright frightening to look at." I laughed out loud when I read this! so glad you got over your fears, can't wait to try this...I love fresh horseradish but have never thought about using it in that much before this!
boulangere March 31, 2011
Seriously, don't you think it looks like something out Harry Potter? At first terrifying, but ultimately found to have magic powers?
arcane54 June 20, 2023
I give the root away with a caution to anyone who wants to plant it: as far away from walks, walkways, foundations as possible”. Yet, I love the stuff!
boulangere June 20, 2023
What a gift to give! And isn't it a gorgeous plant!?