says Lord Byron.
Meal No 51: Bacon and Swiss Chard Dip; Braised Chicken Marsala; Sage Polenta; PearsPearsPears (from Martha Stewart’s Dinner at Home)
Golly, this seems like a heavy meal, especially coming off a holiday week. So, I substituted turkey bacon for the pork bacon. I am not fond of things masquerading as other things, like soy cheese or tofurkey, and thought it was creepy how much the turbacon looked like a slice of budget lunch meat ham. Nevertheless, it was browned, along with some onion. Then I made a roux with milk, flour and heavy cream. All was going swimmingly until I had to add the Swiss chard to the pan to wilt it. If you don’t know, Swiss chard is a tough little beast, and by the time the shreds had wilted the cream sauce and bacon had stuck to the bottom of the pan. This created quite a mess, and also resulted in losing a good deal of the dip ingredients. Using spinach would have been more prudent. It also created a problem because I unwittingly used our last sponge to try to clean the skillet. Now we can’t wash any other dishes.
I baked the chard and the little bit of creamy bacon stuff, topped with Pecorino Romano, which I substituted for Parmesan.
The flavor was good, but even with less creamy stuff added it was pretty oily and had a vaguely slimy texture once it cooled to room temperature. The Husband thinks the leftovers might be good over eggs for breakfast. Hmm.
Braised Chicken Marsala:
Even though I swore off chicken legs after the poached-legs-in-coconut broth incident, I bought some to use in this dish, along with some chicken thighs. Has anyone else noticed that thighs with skin are becoming impossible to find? What is up with that? The unsanctioned skinless thighs and legs (with skin) were browned, sort of, and removed from the pan while two plum tomatoes and red onions were browned along with some thyme sprigs. I then added some Marsala wine and reduced it. The chicken was added back to the pan along with some chicken broth and it baked for 35 minutes.
Cooking polenta is just like cooking grits. Is there any difference, really? I cooked the polenta, then added chopped sage in the last five minutes, plus some butter. Martha said to add 2 teaspoons of coarse salt to the cooking water; I added less and it was too salty. She is a total salt fiend.
Together, the dish achieves a complexity of flavor that is lacking in most of the recipes in this cookbook. It is really quite good, but I prefer the Rachel Ray recipe with the chicken stew and manchego-enhanced polenta I wrote about last week, as Martha’s is a bit too sweet for me, despite having bought the driest Marsala wine I could find. The Husband was just not into the onions at all; he thought they were too sweet, which is odd considering that they were red.
Martha opines that the heaviness of the meal demands a light dessert, but honestly, can’t we just skip it? The wine was kind of sweet, so let’s leave it at that, shall we?
There was a delay in making the sautéed pears. If you know me in person you will not be surprised to learn that I burned my fingers pulling the skillet out of the oven. I then didn’t feel like wielding my fingers to make some stupid honey and pear thing. Didn’t we already make this dessert?
I will probably post about it later in the week.
ONE MORE MEAL, and I will have fulfilled my New Year’s Resolution. I can’t decide whether to hope it’s tasty, or horrible.