Sunday, March 30, 2014

Polenta and Chard

Lucky us. 
A cool spring rain falls outside perking up the flowers and trees. Inside we're snuggled with the dogs enjoying the weather and the excuse to be lazy together.
Days with bit of chill call for hearty warm suppers. Stews, soups, and of course -- polenta.  But since lazy is the word of the day I went for an easy oven baked polenta (no stirring). 
First, so I didn't have to make a separate vegetable, I boiled some chard cut into 1/2" pieces in salted water for about 13 minutes (I put the stems in first for 3-4 minutes and then followed with the leaves for another 10). I drained the chard and reserved the cooking water to flavor the polenta. In an oven proof saucepan I combined 4 cups of chard cooking water, 2 TB of butter, a pinch of pepper and 1 cup of polenta. After the mixture baked for 40 minutes I gave it a good stir and let the polenta cook for just 10 minutes more.  It was creamy, hot and smooth (no stirring and no lumps -- oven magic) afterwards when I stirred in the cooked chard and a good sized handful of grated cheese.
With a couple minutes to spare while the polenta cooked with no effort from me, I whipped up a quick sauce with ground meat, madeira wine, capers and thyme based on Mark Vetri's lauded veal ragu` 
Warm and easy nearly fuss free cooking -- a perfect simple dinner for a drizzly spring day.

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