RECIPE: Polenta with Sweetbreads and Oats

Topped with sunchoke crumble and red wine sauce.

December 13, 2019 ‚óŹ 3 min read

Alex Hong loves a challenge. As executive chef at San Francisco’s Sorrel, he’s constantly exploring new flavor combinations—like balancing matcha, truffle, and seaweed with the creaminess of Planet Oat oatmilk in this hearty sweetbread polenta recipe. Watch him make this savory sweetbread polenta in the third installment of our video series in partnership with Planet Oat, then make it yourself with the recipe below.


Polenta with Sweetbreads and Oats

Serves 4


1 portion lamb, veal or beef sweetbreads, about 8-10 ounces

8 cups Planet Oat Oatmilk, Extra Creamy or Original, divided

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 ounces chanterelle or lobster mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1 cup dry white or yellow polenta

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons butter

½ cup rolled oats, ground into a coarse flour

Oil for frying

Red Wine Sauce, see recipe

Sunchoke Crumble, see recipe

Matcha powder, for dusting

Nasturtium flowers, fresh thyme or rosemary for garnish



1. The night before your meal, soak sweetbreads in 4 cups oat milk overnight. 

2. Remove sweetbreads from milk, transfer to a pot with 4 quarts boiling, salted water. Poach for 3 minutes, drain and soak in ice water.  

3. When cool, clean meat discarding fats, membranes and any other sinewy parts.  Blot dry with a kitchen towel then cut sweetbreads into bite-sized nuggets (about 1 ½“ portions). Transfer to a colander with a bowl underneath and store in fridge until ready to fry. 

4. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Saute until mushrooms are tender, about x-x minutes. 

5. Warm remaining 4 cups of oat milk along with salt in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in polenta. 

6. Cook polenta until tender and thickened but still creamy, stirring often, about 30 minutes. Stir in butter.

7. Remove sweetbread nuggets from refrigerator and dredge in oat flour.

8. Pour enough oil into a large deep skillet to reach depth of ½ inch. Heat oil to 350°F. Fry sweetbreads until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Remove from oil and season with salt. 

9. To plate, equally divide polenta onto white plates. Top with mushrooms and Red Wine Sauce. Place Sweetbreads on top and dust with matcha powder and finish with Sunchoke Crumble. Garnish plate with nasturtium flowers, fresh thyme or rosemary.


Sunchoke Crumble


¼ cup kosher salt

1 quarts (4 cups) water 

½ pound sunchokes, scrubbed and diced into 1” pieces

Oil for frying



1. Make a salt water solution by adding salt to 1 quart of water and heat until boiling or until all the salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. 

2. Transfer diced sunchokes to blender. Add 2 cups of water and blend until sunchokes begin to break up into fine pieces, but not pureed. Strain.

3. Brine sunchokes in salt water solution for 5 minutes. Remove from solution and ring through a clean towel to remove excess moisture. 

4. Pour enough oil into a large deep skillet to reach depth of ½ inch. Heat oil to 350°F. Fry sunchokes until crisp and golden brown. Transfer to towel and season with salt. 


Red Wine Sauce 


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 rib of celery, trimmed and diced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 quarts (8 cups) veal or beef stock

1 bay leaf

4 peppercorns

½ cup red wine

1 tablespoon white truffle oil

2 teaspoons minced shallot

½ teaspoon minced, fresh rosemary



1. Warm oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute carrots, celery and garlic until golden and caramelized, about x-x minutes. 

2. Stir in tomato paste and caramelize again. 

3. Gradually whisk in red wine and deglaze the pan, scrapping up any caramelized bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.

4. Add stock, bay leaf and peppercorns. Increase heat to a medium simmer and cook until liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about x-x minutes. 

5. Strain the sauce and stir in truffle oil, shallot and rosemary. If desired, grate in fresh truffles. Keep warm until ready to serve.