Chard–so beautiful to look at, but so confusing the cook with.
Known for its deep green leaves and brightly colored stems, chard has a reputation for being all looks and no taste. Unlike its leafy cousin’s spinach and kale, chard is tough and bitter when raw, requiring some transformation to reach its fullest potential. And once it’s there, boy, is it good.
Something that we really like about this particular method is that it uses both the stem and leaf of the chard plant. Each adds its own texture and complexity to the dish, and it’s truly delicious. Combined with hearty polenta, crisp sausage, a healthy dose of fresh herbs, and a generous splash of white wine, chard becomes the crowning ingredient in a balanced yet filling weeknight dinner.
So, consider this recipe as a public service announcement: chard is more than just a pretty face.
Keep things simple. Homemade polenta is delicious, and we will always find the time to make it (we use this recipe!). However, there are plenty of shortcuts and premade options that are also delicious if you are in a time crunch. Even crisping up the tubes of polenta is delicious in this.
Improvise on flavors. This is a great “pantry recipe,” and it should be thought of as such. Use it as an opportunity to finish off a lingering jar of spices or spare sprigs of fresh herbs. Whatever you have on hand will work.
Take the time you need. Your chard and sausage will taste best if you take the time to let them wilt and crisp. Though it’s tempting to crank your stovetop on high, a slow saute will be worth it in the end.
Save some for later. This recipe is great leftover the next day.
Polenta With Swiss ChardCourse: Garden-Inspired Recipes & CookingCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
This polenta with swiss chard is an incredibly delicious meal that anyone will enjoy!
Polenta, quick or pre-cooked
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb. ground sausage of choice (mild, hot, Italian or chicken are all good options)
1 lb. chard, stems, and leaves
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, basil, parsley or chives, chopped
½ cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, to taste
- Prepare the polenta according to package instructions. If using pre-made, we recommend crisping ½ inch slices in about 2 tbsp olive oil. Set aside for later.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage and spread into a single layer. Let it sit, undisturbed, for around three minutes, or until the edges are very golden brown and the visible side of sausage is beginning to cook.
- Meanwhile, prepare the chard. Take a sharp knife along the edge of the stem to remove the leaf. Use your hands the leaves into 2-inch pieces, then chop the stems into ¼ inch slices. Store each in a separate bowl until ready to use.
- Once the underside of the sausage is crisp, use a spatula to break it into smaller pieces and saute until cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked sausage into a bowl, then remove all but 1 tbsp of the drippings from the pan.
- To the skillet, add the chopped chard stems, mixing to coat with the sausage drippings. When they begin to soften (about two minutes), add in fresh herbs, salt and pepper and cook until fragrant.
- Add pour in the white wine, using a spatula or wooden spoon to dredge the bottom of the pan. Immediately add in chard leaves and stir to combine. Cook for about two minutes, until the chard leaves are wilted and the wine fully evaporated.
- Add sausage back into the pan, stirring to combine. Once warm, serve over polenta, sprinkled with grated parmesan.