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Monday, April 30, 2007

Swiss Chard with Pancetta and Soft Polenta

After finding some great looking Swiss Chard at my local market, I decided to try this recipe from Cooking Light's web site. Swiss Chard is like substantial spinach and just perfect to build a dinner around. Dishes like this are common in italian restaurants, creamy cheesy polenta with some sort of stewed meat or vegetable as its companion on the plate. This one (since it's from CL) is a little leaner, but quite good. The chard is sauteed with sliced garlic and then a brief covering of the pan gives it the steam it needs to collapse and get tender. On the plate, the soft polenta is topped with the chard and crispy pancetta bits are sprinkled over the top. This recipe could easily be vegetarian if you just eliminated the pancetta. But I, being a dedicated carnivore, have started keeping pancetta and regular bacon in the freezer between sheets of wax paper. This is really helpful because now I always have some sort of bacon on hand.



I added some slow roasted cherry tomatoes to the plate because they go well with everything and they're so good. I definitely put on too many tomatoes for this photo but I couldn't help myself. Plus I threw in some cubed fresh mozzarella that I also had in the fridge. My husband liked this dish and remarked that "his favorite vegetarian dinners have pancetta in them. "

6 comments:

Sheri said...

That looks and sounds yummy. I hardly ever make polenta because our favorite one is made with milk and cream and goat cheese and is way too fattening. I like swiss chard - I think I might try this sometime.

Amy said...

I freeze slices of bacon between foil. It is nice to have on hand, isn't it? I don't think my husband would eat Swiss Chard. Maybe Sheri will invite me to eat it at her house.

Toni said...

My husband was reluctant to eat swiss chard at first. He stubbornly called it kale, although he knows it isn't kale. And what's wrong with kale anyway?!
But following the technique I learned with my toddler, I just kept feeding it to him until he eventually accepted it as a food.

And the bacon in the freezer - life changing.

Lisa said...

Ha ha! "Favorite vegetarian dinners." That looks incredibly good. I must try it. Love Swiss chard to death.

Anne said...

i never get polenta quite right, but i keep getting urges to try again.

would your husband agree that maybe kale and swiss chard are interchangeable enough to be substituted in this dish?

if you're ever been to the chicago diner on halsted, they have a good polenta dish with swiss chard.

-- anne, menuism.com intern

Toni said...

I think you could use Kale, but you'd have to cook it separately first, for a while, and then add it to the oil and garlic when it is already tender. It isn't as mild as chard, so the dish would be really hearty.

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