Sunday, July 24, 2011

Swiss Chard and Bacon over Soft Polenta

I got this recipe from an article in The News Tribune--the same article from which I got the Quick Beans and Greens recipe. Thanks again for sharing your newspaper, Mom! The original recipe called for pancetta and shaved Parmesan, neither of which I had, so I just used thick-cut, uncured bacon and grated Parmesan instead. The original recipe also called for twice as much polenta, which I dutifully made, and it was way too much. We're happy to use the leftovers as a few days' worth of breakfast mush, but I've halved the polenta recipe here so it's a more reasonable amount for this meal.

The photo shows chard stems around the edges of the polenta. The original recipe didn't use them,
but I didn't want to waste them, so I sautéed them in butter and added them to the meal.
Steve and I both think they detracted from the finished product;
next time I'll use them in something else instead.

For Chard:
6-ish slices of bacon or 2 oz. pancetta, cut into 1/4-in. pieces
Freshly pressed garlic (I used about 6 cloves)
1 1/2 c. chicken broth (I made this with Better Than Bouillon organic chicken base)
1 T. chopped fresh thyme, or 1 t. dried thyme (I used dried, because it's what I had; it was good, but fresh would be even better)
8 c. coarsely chopped chard (stems removed and saved for another recipe)
1/4 t. coarse salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
Shaved or grated fresh Parmesan

For Polenta:
1 1/4 c. yellow cornmeal
1/2 t. salt
4 c. water

Cook bacon or pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp (about 10 min.).

Meanwhile, put the cornmeal and salt in a medium saucepan. Slowly whisk in the water (whisk constantly while pouring in water so the cornmeal doesn't get lumpy). Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat to low (original recipe says medium, but that's too hot). Cook for 15 minutes over low heat, whisking often.

When bacon/pancetta is crisp, remove it from skillet, but leave drippings. Add garlic to the drippings and sauté for 30 sec. Add broth and thyme, and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture reduces to about 3/4 c. Add the chard, salt, and pepper and toss to coat. Cover and reduce heat to low. After 3 min., remove chard and liquid from skillet so they stop cooking. Serve chard and liquid on a bed of polenta. Top with bacon/pancetta and Parmesan.

This was very good. It wasn't what I'd call a quick and easy meal, nor was it light on pot-and-pan usage, but it was tasty. As the original recipe stated, this also would be good made with some other type of bitter green, like kale, broccoli rabe, or mustard greens. The article also said that greens like this are great in wintertime. I would agree--at least for this recipe--because standing in front of that many hot stove burners for that long isn't my favorite activity in an 80-something-degree house. Nonetheless, yummy result!

1 comment:

cathy said...

I tried this last night, Wendy. It was tasty, and the presentation fabulous...with bacon and parmesan sprinkled on top. Next time I would flavor the polenta by cooking it in broth (or half broth), as it was too bland for my taste. Or maybe I'll try swirling some of the really tasty chard cooking liquid into the grain before plating it.