Polenta with Chard, Bacon, and Wild Chanterelles.

Polenta with Chard, Bacon, and Wild Chanterelles

This is essentially a riff on collard greens that I developed in order to incorporate chard, which is very easy to work with, mushrooms, and bacon.  Add a little onion and garlic and put it on top of cheesy and delicious polenta and you have an easy and absolutely filling meal.  Leave out the bacon if you’re feeling vegetarian, but be warned, I will find you.  As for the mushroom and green choices, I’ll be a little more lenient.  (Meaning that, yes, this recipe works just as well with collard green, kale—though you have to remove the more fibrous stalk—and Portobello, button mushrooms, shitake, really anything you like.  The cooking time may have to be adjusted a little bit, but it’s relatively easy.  Make it delicious.)


6 cups washed and dried green or rainbow chard, roughly chopped

½ pound thick cut bacon, cut into ½” pieces

½ yellow onion, diced

1 cup wild chanterelles or other mushrooms, sliced into small pieces

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Cook the bacon in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-low heat.  Let the bacon cool on top of a paper towel, and reserve the bacon fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pan.  With the heat still of medium low, add the diced onion and sauté until slightly translucent and soft, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the chanterelles and toss together, sautéing for about 10-15 minutes or until the mushrooms are fully cooked and the onions are completely translucent and slightly caramelized.  The mushrooms will release a lot of liquid; simply allow it to steam off.

2.  Add the garlic and butter to the onion and mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add half the chard and cook until wilted and reduced in size.  Add the remaining chard and cook for another 7 or so minutes.  Chop the bacon and cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve atop polenta.


2 cups low-fat milk

2 cups water

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup cornmeal (add an addition ¼ cup if the polenta is too loose)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

1.  Combine the milk, water, and salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and slowly sprinkle in the cornmeal, whisking continuously.  Cook for 5 minutes or until the polenta has thickened.  (Add additional cornmeal or milk if the consistency is off.  Polenta should be thicker than grits, but looser than mashed potatoes.)  Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and Parmesan.

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