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Oven Polenta with Winter Greens and Parmesan
Makes 4-5 servings

Sautéed greens are but one way to complement polenta; feel free to get creative with toppings or fillings. This recipe is adapted from “Making Creamy Polenta,” by Paula Wolfert, Fine Cooking, March 1999. Note: if you double the recipe, double the cooking time.

olive oil
1 cup yellow cornmeal (medium or coarse-grain)
4 cups liquid: chicken or vegetable stock; water; or half milk and half water
salt
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
1 pound collards, spinach, kale, or mustard greens, thick stems discarded, leaves chopped coarsely
pepper
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or fennel leaves
1/4-1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a large ovenproof skillet (non-stick if possible). Add cornmeal, liquid and 1 teaspoon salt; stir well (mixture will separate, but it will come together while cooking). Bake uncovered 40 minutes without stirring.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in another skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook slowly until lightly colored, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, chile flakes and chopped greens to skillet; cook, stirring often, until tender, 5-8 minutes. If there’s excess liquid, raise heat to reduce it. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When polenta has cooked 40 minutes (if you’ve used a pot instead of a wide skillet, it may need an additional 10 minutes at this point), stir in greens, herbs and most of the Parmesan. Bake 5-10 minutes longer. Remove from oven, let rest 5 minutes, then serve immediately, sprinkled with remaining Parmesan.
    Copyright by Terese Allen 2003