Sunday, January 30, 2011


I am one of those people who like leftovers.  But I don't like most leftovers more than once, so even though Larry jokes that I can't cook for less than twelve people, I usually make enough for the two of us to have dinner and then lunch.  That works out well, because my only other lunch option is the school cafeteria, and that's not really an option in my opinion.  I could order out, but most of the places that deliver aren't worth the money or calories.

Occasionally, our leftovers wind up as dinner again, or as in the case of this morning, a new breakfast idea.  Every time I opened the fridge yesterday, the polenta stared accusingly at me.  "I'm going to go bad and you're going to waste food if you don't do something with me soon."  I can't stand wasting food--it makes me crazy.  The polenta apparently knew this. 

Sitting next to the polenta was the braised Swiss Chard I'd made for dinner last night.  My dad had just called and told me about the Eggs Benedict he'd made for dinner, so Candadian Bacon, layering and eggs were on my mind...and you know in this house we had Canadian Bacon.  Hello.  Pork product.

Thus Polenta, Chard, and Egg Stacks were born hatched. This would be a lovely brunch offering; even making it all from scratch wouldn't be too complicated.  You'd just need to make the polenta the day before, so it could set up and you could cut it into rounds (or slabs...I was just feeling fancy).

Polenta, Chard, and Egg Stacks
by Me     (serves 2-6, depending on what you serve it with and how hungry everyone's flexible)
Warning:  this is an apron-wearing recipe

olive oil
2 1/2 cups cooked, cold polenta, spread in pan while still warm, about 1-1 1/2 in. thick*
2 cups braised chard (recipe to follow)
eggs, the number depending on how many you're serving (one for each polenta round)
Candadian bacon slices, the number depending on how many you're serving (one for each polenta round)
salt and pepper

1.  Preheat oven to its lowest setting/warm.  Have a sheet pan pre-heating.  Warm 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, until you can smell the oil but it's not smoking.  Cut the polenta into rounds, (I used 2") one or two per person.  Gently place the polenta rounds in the oil; stand back because it will probably splatter.  Fry until the polenta are golden, about 2-3 minutes, and then flip and repeat.  As the rounds are ready, put them in the oven on the sheet pan.

2.  Lightly brown the Canadian bacon on each side, one slice for each polenta round.  Place them on the polenta in the oven.  Top with 1/4 cup of chard--the oven will warm it if it's cold.  Return to oven.

3.  Wipe out the skillet, coat with cooking spray, and fry the eggs to your desired stage, lightly salt-and-peppering each egg.  Top each polenta stack with an egg. 

Braised Chard

olive oil
1 bunch washed Swiss Chard, stems cut off and sliced 1/2 inch thick, leaves chopped--stems and leaves separated  (any color is fine; mine was red, hence the ruby-colored puddle in the picture)
1/2 large sweet onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 clove garlic,  peeled and minced
salt and pepper
squeeze of orange or lemon juice, or shot of balsamic vinegar

1.  Heat a large skillet with olive oil over medium heat.  When you can smell the oil, add the onion and chard stems.  Saute about 3 minutes, or until onions start to soften.  Add garlic, saute about 2 more minutes.  Add chard leaves and salt and pepper, and toss gently to coat.

2.  As chard leaves begin to wilt, add liquid of your choice, stir through, reduce heat to medium-low and cover skillet (aluminum foil works if your skillet doesn't have a lid).  Cook, stirring occasionally, until chard is meltingly tender, about 15-20 minutes.  If the pan seems dry, add water in 1/4 cup increments to keep it from drying out.

*Leave a comment if you're not sure what I'm talking about here, and I'll be happy to get back to you.

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