Cook the Book: Polenta Smothered with Braised Greens


Before I picked up a copy of Deborah Madison's What We Eat When We Eat Alone I thought that my secret polenta-eating habit was an anomaly. I was heartened to see that there were no fewer than six polenta-based recipes in her book! You see, I have a fondness for polenta that borders on obsession. Nine times out of ten I would pass up a decadent dessert for a bowl of creamy polenta. There is something about polenta that just sates me.

If Deborah Madison asked me what I cooked for myself, the answer would most certainly be Polenta Smothered with Braised Greens. This the meal that I inevitably make for myself a few times a week. It varies depending on what types of greens I have on hand and what type of cheese I had to add to my polenta. No matter if it's collards or kale, cream, mascarpone, or chèvre- braised greens plus polenta and a little bit of dairy are just plain good.

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Cook the Book: Polenta Smothered with Braised Greens

About This Recipe

Yield:4 to 6


  • 1 cup polenta
  • Salt
  • Butter or grated cheese
  • Polenta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed
  • 3 or 4 big handfuls chard, kale, or other cooking greens, leaves removes from the stems, rinsed and torn
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup water or chicken broth
  • A few drops red wine vinegar
  • 3 slices of prosciutto, cut into strips (optional)
  • Asiago or Parmesan cheese for grating


  1. 1

  2. 2

    Braised Greens

  3. 3

    Make Polenta and pour it into a lightly oiled bowl to set.

  4. 4

    Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the onion. Give a stir and cook until the onion is wilted, about 8 minutes, adding the garlic halfway through. Add the greens, sprinkle them with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pour in the water or chicken stock. Cover and cook until the greens are wilted and tender, from 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the types of greens used. Sprinkle with vinegar and add the prosciutto, if using. Let rest while you turn out the polenta. Cut the polenta into slices and arrange them on your plate, cover with the greens, and grate cheese over all.


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