Recipe: Cornmeal Cakes with Slow-Cooked Meat and Sour Cream

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I had some batter left over from a breakfast of cornmeal cakes and about a cup of Seven-Hour Spoon Lamb. So I heated the meat in a saucepan with some of its juices, fired up a skillet, and cooked up a few pancakes. The only assembly required was to put the cakes on a dinner plate, top them with a small dollop of sour cream as a creamy liaison between the two parts, and then add a spoonful of the warm meat. Perfect.

This basic formula is also good using socca, thin chickpea flour pancakes, instead of cornmeal cakes.

If I've got no cornmeal or chickpea flour in the house, I'll pile some of the warm, shredded meats onto a thick slice of toasted bread rubbed with a cut clove of garlic or shallot, still with a little dab of sour cream to smooth the way.

This is a rough formula that you can tailor to the amount of meat or cakes you have.

    • Leftover slow-cooked meat such as pot roast or Seven-Hour Spoon Lamb shredded,with its juices, (about 1 cup per person)
    • Sweet or Savory Cornmeal Cakes, 4 or 5 cakes per serving
    • Sour cream (about 1 tablespoon per cake or about 1/3 cup per serving)
    • Chopped fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley or chives (optional)

Place the lamb and some of its juices in a saucepan; cover and heat over low heat while you make the cornmeal cakes. You can either make all the cakes and keep them warm in the oven to assemble at once, or assemble and eat them a few at a time as they come off out of the pan.

To assemble, place some cornmeal cakes on a plate, top each with about a tablespoon of sour cream, followed by a couple of tablespoons of meat. Sprinkle with herbs if desired. Serve at once.

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Sally Schneider writes The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog about improvising as a daily practice. Her cookbook The Improvisational Cook is now out in paperback. More

Sally Schneider is the founder of The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog that inspires you to devise, invent, create, make it up as you go along, from design and cooking to cultivating the creative spirit. It's been called a "zeitgeist-perfect website." She is a regular contributor to public radio's The Splendid Table and the author of the best-selling cookbooks The Improvisational Cook and A New Way to Cook, which was recently named one of the best books of the decade by The Guardian. She has won numerous awards, including four James Beard awards, for her books and magazine writing.

Sally has worked as a journalist, editor, stylist, lecturer, restaurant chef, teacher, and small-space consultant, and once wrangled 600 live snails for the photographer Irving Penn. Her varied work has been the laboratory for the themes she writes and lectures about: improvising as an essential operating principle; cultivating resourcefulness and your inner artist; design, style, and food; and anything that is cost-effective, resourceful, and outside the box.
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