Monday, March 19, 2012

Soft Polenta with Chard and Mushrooms

A delicious winter meal!

On a cold and rainy night this past week, I was looking to make something warm and comforting. Taking a look in my fridge, I saw a big bunch of chard that I needed to use soon. I began thinking about cooking it with some mushrooms and putting it over soft polenta. However, I had never cooked polenta before, and my past attempts at chard were not very successful. So I scoured the internet for a recipe, my usual plan, and found one from I omitted the sausage from her recipe, and we did not miss it at all. My friends and I were really happy with how it turned out, and I can't wait to make this dish again! If you're in a hurry, you could use one of those pre-made polenta logs, sliced and heated up. But I think the homemade version tastes much better!

Soft Polenta with Sauteed Chard and Mushrooms
1 cup dry Polenta
4 cups Chicken Stock (homemade or store bought)
2 tablespoons Butter
Salt & Pepper
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 bunch of Chard
1 large Garlic clove, minced
1 cup Baby Portobello Mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon Apple Cider vinegar

- In a medium saucepan, at medium low heat, combine the dry polenta with 1 cup of stock and stir until incorporated. Cook until the liquid has started to evaporate and the polenta has thickened.
- Once the polenta has thickened, add another cup of stock and whisk to combine. Continue to cook over medium low heat, whisking frequently and adding stock when the mixture has thickened, until you’ve added all the stock (this process will take around 30-45 minutes).
- Season with salt & pepper to taste, remove from heat and cover.
- When polenta is about halfway cooked, start with the veggies: Strip the chard leaves from the stems and cut them into strips approximately 1 inch wide. Cut any dry or woody ends off the stems and chop the rest into roughly ½ inch pieces.
- Add the olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once the oil has warmed, add the garlic and chard stems to the pan and cook until the stems have begun to soften (about 5 minutes).
- Add the mushrooms to the pan and continue to cook, stirring, until the mushrooms begin to color and give up their liquid (about 5 minutes).
- Turn the heat up to medium high and add the chard leaves to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the leaves just begin to wilt (about 2-3 minutes). Remove from heat.
- Add the cider vinegar to the pan and stir everything together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- If desired, stir shredded parmesan into the polenta until completely incorporated.
- Serve immediately: Spoon polenta onto warmed plates, and top with the chard and mushrooms.

Enjoy, and happy eating! :-)

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