Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Easy Dinner: Sausages with Polenta and Swiss Chard

I'm spending the week in Virginia with my mother and grandmother and brothers and cousins and aunts and uncles. Everyone but me lives in Old Town, Alexandria and I do adore being overwhelmed with family. It's how I grew up: my grandmother up the street and my aunt and cousins round the corner and various and sundry other relatives sprinkled throughout the area. While Alexandria is a huge city outside an even huger city - Washington DC - for me and my family there's something very small-town about it. We've been here since the 1800's, since Robert E Lee lived here and since Northern Virginia was considered the South. Heck, to me and mine, we are Southern and we have a sad Confederate statue to prove it.

I'm here this week for my Aunt Sarah's funeral. She was somewhere in her nineties and, apart from being my grandmother's sister-in-law, they were best friends from the age of four. While we celebrate Aunt Sarah's incredibly healthy long life, I feel sad for my grandmother who is now the last of her generation in Old Town. While living long and strong is a wonderful thing, it's also very difficult outlasting everyone you know.

So this week hasn't been one of cooking and experimenting. It's been one of filling our bellies with soothing easy to make and eat meals. One of my favorites is Pork Sausages with Creamy Polenta and Swiss Chard. It comes together in about 40 minutes and hits all the right buttons. Baby girl loves everything in here and it's a meal I turn to time and again when I just want to eat something I know.

Pork Sausages with Creamy Polenta and Swiss Chard
(Apart from the red wine, everything is local and should be easy enough to find at your local farmer's market. Pork sausages can be kept in the freezer and polenta in the pantry so the only thing you might have to pick up would be the swiss chard.)

What You'll Need:
4 Pork Sausages (large ones)
1 cup Polenta
4 cups Chicken Broth
1-2 bunches Swiss Chard chopped (About 4-6 cups)

2 cups red wine

Set a frying pan over a medium high heat. After a few minutes place the pork sausages in the pan and turn down the heat to medium low. Cook turning them every so often until the sausages are cooked through. About 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the chicken broth to a medium pot and bring to a boil. While stirring the broth with a wooden spoon, add the polenta in a steady trickle to the broth. Stir until the the polenta thickens and absorbs all the broth. About 30 minutes.

Once the sausages are ready, add the swiss chard to the sausage frying pan and cook while scraping up the porky bits until the leaves are wilted and the stalks are tender.

If you'd like a little read wine sauce simmer the wine and about 3-4 tablespoons of sugar until the wine is reduced by three quarters.

To serve, place a large spoonful of polenta in the middle of the plate with the swiss chard and sausage on top. Add a little splash of sauce if you've made it.

Approximate Cost:
Groceries: $14
Cost per Meal: Expect four servings from this one.

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  1. This looks so fantastic! Our farmer's market opens for the season here in Portland on Saturday and this may be a great first meal to make from my purchases...wine included!

  2. This is like fast slow food, because I think I could make this from memory after reading the post. It looks delish and I can't wait to try it.

  3. Sarah, I can't wait for asparagus!! We're so close to produce other than potatoes and apples!!

    Alisa, I like that: fast slow food. I think loads of people think it's too difficult to cook slow, but there are loads of yummy meals that don't take much time!

  4. I know! Asparagus is right around the corner! Meanwhile, I was going nutso for pea shoots, miner's lettuce and nettles on Saturday. Check it out: http://clearingpdx.blogspot.com/2010/03/its-like-christmas-in-march.html

  5. Oh my good graciousness!! I wish I had all those things at my market. Here in NYC it's still all about the roots.



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