This is healthful comfort food, made in one pan. It can be assembled, covered and refrigerated up to 1 day in advance of baking.
- For the chard
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch red-stemmed swiss chard, stems and leaves separated and coarsely chopped (2 to 2 1/2 cups total)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons water
- For the polenta
- 2 cups low-fat or nonfat milk
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup polenta (may substitute corn grits or stone-ground cornmeal)
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1/3 cup low-fat sour cream
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a shallow casserole dish (2 1/2- to 3-quart capacity).
For the chard: Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds, until fragrant; add the stems from the Swiss chard. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and stir to combine; add the water, cover and cook for 2 minutes, then add the leaves. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes, until the leaves are wilted. Remove from the heat, uncover and let cool. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
For the polenta: Combine the milk, water and salt in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and slowly whisk in the polenta. Cook, whisking constantly, for about 5 minutes, until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of mashed potatoes.
Add 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese along with the butter and the mozzarella cheese, stirring until well incorporated.
Spread half of the mixture in the casserole dish, then spoon the Swiss chard mixture evenly on top. Spread the sour cream in a smooth, even layer, then spread the remaining polenta over the sour cream. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.
(At this point, the casserole can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Add about 5 minutes to the baking time.)
Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden on top.
Adapted from "The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever," by Beatrice Ojakangas (Chronicle, November 2008).
Tested by Jane Black.
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