Today marks the beginning of lent. When I was growing up, we would not eat meat on Fridays during lent and instead of replacing meat with seafood, we would have a meatless meal. Usually we would have pasta, or soup with rice. This is my grown up version of those Friday meatless meals. And if you made the Swiss chard wrapped salmon with polenta, I’m guessing you still have some Swiss chard left and an open package of polenta. Here is a quick recipe to use both. Swiss chard has a delicate flavor when cooked, but is sturdy enough to not wilt as quickly as spinach. If you buy some Swiss chard and don’t plan on using for a couple of days, or if you have some leftover, simply cut about ¼ inch off the stalks, place them in a glass with water, wrap the leaves with paper towels and place a plastic bag over it. This will keep the leaves sturdy and fresh for a few days.
Quick Swiss Chard Ragù
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 small onion, sliced
• 1 small bell pepper, seeds removed, sliced
• 4 garlic cloves, sliced
• 1 cup grape tomatoes
• ¼ teaspoon oregano, or more to taste
• 1 bunch Swiss chard, washed, stems removed, sliced into 1 inch strips
• ¼ cup white wine or chicken stock
• ¼ cup of your favorite pasta sauce
• 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
• Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add onion and bell pepper, sauté for about 4 minutes.
2. Add the garlic cloves, grape tomatoes, and oregano, sauté for 2 more minutes.
3. Add the Swiss chard, wine and tomato sauce, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Depending on what kind of tomato sauce you use, you may need to add a pinch of sugar to offset the acidity of the tomatoes. Cover with lid and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until Swiss chard starts to wilt and become soft.
4. Once the leaves start to wilt, remove lid, and increase heat to reduce the liquid. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve over soft polenta and sprinkle with parsley. Serves two.
*For those of you who absolutely must have meat then start with 8 ounces bulk Italian sausage, browning the sausage in the olive oil, and the continuing with the next steps.