One of our all-time favorite chard recipes!
For the garbanzos:
2 15.5-ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained (about 3 cups)
10 garlic cloves, peeled
2 large shallots
3 small bay leaves
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the chard:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
3 small bay leaves
2 shallots, sliced
2 small or 1 large bunch Swiss chard, large ribs trimmed off, leaves coarsely torn
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or storebought low-salt good quality chicken broth)
For the polenta:
4 cups water or milk, or a combination
1 cup polenta (coarse-ground cornmeal), not instant
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated cheese, such as parmigiano-reggiano or fontina
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a Pyrex baking dish (8×8 or 11×7), combine the garbanzos, garlic, shallots, and bay leaves. Sprinkle with coarse salt and black pepper, then pour the olive oil over the pan. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes, until the garlic cloves and shallots are soft. Set aside at room temperature until ready to add to the chard.
After you put the garbanzos in to roast, start your polenta. In a medium pot, bring 4 cups of water or milk and a teaspoon of salt to the boil. Stream in the polenta, whisking contantly, and continue whisking until the polenta thickens slightly and is suspended throughout the liquid, about 1 minute. Cover the pot, turn down the heat, and simmer for 1 hour. Stir the polenta occasionally; it should be cooking at a rate of a slow bubble.
About 15 minutes before your polenta is finished cooking, make the chard: Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, bay leaves, and shallots, cover, and cook until the shallots are tender, about 10 minutes. Uncover and add the swiss chard, stirring to coat with the olive oil. Add the chicken stock, stir to combine, then cover the pot to braise the chard until it’s wilted and tender.
Uncover the pot and continue to cook until some of the broth has evaporated, then add the roasted garbanzo bean mixture. Stir to combine, cook over medium heat until heated through, a few more minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt or pepper as needed.
At this point your polenta should be finished cooking. Turn off the heat and add the 3 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 cup of grated cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted, then divide among serving dishes (if you have any leftover, spread it on a sheet pan to cool.)
Spoon the chard & garbanzo mixture, with some of the juices, over the polenta.
Makes 4-6 main course servings.