Beer Polenta with Creamy Chard & Eggs

Do you believe in love at first sight?

That’s how I feel about Jacqueline Dodd’s – The Beeroness – cookbook, Lush: A Season-By-Season Celebration of Craft Beer and Produce. And I know you will too. But we’ll get to that in a minute. First, I want to talk about love. Lust. The possibility of some kind of star-crossed kismet.

Do you believe in that unavoidable spark between lovers? The innate connection between new friends? The natural chemistry of oozy cheesy polenta on your tastebuds?

Or even, that challenging – uncomfortable, painful, or even toxic – relationships are destined to be part of our stories?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. About the possibility that some relationships are meant to be.

That ALL relationships are meant to be.

It’s possible people and experiences come into our lives at a certain time, for a particular reason.

I don’t put much (any) stock into the idea that a giant white dude in the sky has a plan for us, but I do fancy the notion that like energy attracts like energy. Or as Rumi says, “what you seek is also seeking you.” And that these encounters – both positive and negative – are there to help us grow as humans, to deepen our relationship with ourselves, others, or the planet, and to help heal past trauma.

Whoa. Shit just got deep.

Beer Polenta Recipe Ingredients - She Eats | Vancouver food photographer & food stylistSometimes what we find in this journey is oh so delicious – bourbon whiskey, cake doughnuts, or the kind of love that lights up your dark and twisty places and sees you for who you really are, and wants only that – nothing less, nothing more. Just you.

Other times, it’s not so easy, attracting what we seek.

I can say with absolute certainty I wasn’t seeking to be the victim of narcissistic abuse for two years. Though I did learn how to love myself more fully; thank Dios for therapy, amiright? I definitely wasn’t looking for my taxi to break down in the middle of rural Cambodia, either. Luckily the kindness of strangers translates across borders. And I definitely wasn’t hoping to lose my Dad to cancer five years ago. I have nothing positive to say about that. No resolution. So, fuck cancer.

Over time, these experiences have made it easy for me to get a bit cynical. Ja-ja-ja-jaded. Dare I say, even, bitter…?

Beer Polenta with Creamy Chard and Poached Eggs - She Eats | Vancouver food photographer & food stylistBut like Luke or a good IPA, I refuse to give in to the dark side.

Oh, I have my moments. I’m known to be a bit of a crier; I’m an emotional woman and feel things deeply. I can also put up walls and get (a bit) paranoid when I meet new people; I believe those are called trust issues. And have I mentioned how I use humour to deflect pain and discomfort? Just call me Chanandler Bong.

Truth be told: we don’t have control over the things that happen to us or the experiences we encounter and the relationships we find ourselves in. Even if we do somehow – for some reason – attract them. What we do have a choice in is how we respond to those people and events. We get to decide how we come out the other side. We get to tell our story.

And I choose kindess. And craft beer. And fiercely kind and talented people like Jacquelyn Dodd.

Lush: A Season-by-Season Celebration of Craft Beer and Produce Cookbook - Beer Polenta - She Eats | Vancouver food photographer & food stylistAs I said, Jackie is the author of Lush, and the blog The Beeroness. Her book is pure fucking genius and her blog ‘gonna make you drool. She was gracious and kind to support my cookbook when it came out, and I have been chomping at the bit to support hers.

Guys and dolls – this book is BOMB. It really was love at first sight. And I firmly believe it came into my life at precisely the right moment. That moment being when the Vancouver farmers markets were gearing up and all the beautiful West Coast seasonal produce was at its peak. Match made in heaven? I think so. #BeerMe

Lush is packed with more than 80 creative, produce-forward recipes, many of which I have dog-eared (yes, I do that) including the Grilled Apricot and Saison Shortcakes, English Pea and Pilsner Crepes with Burrata and Tomatoes, Grilled Romain with IPA-Pickled Strawberries, Roasted Cauliflower with Creamy Beer and Leek Sauce, Ginger Beer Scones, and the Crispy Sweet Potato Tacos.

Oh, and of course, the Beer Polenta with Creamy Chard and Eggs.

Beer Polenta with Creamy Chard and Poached Eggs - She Eats | Vancouver food photographer & food stylistStraight out of the Spring chapter, Jackie admits this recipe is one of her favourites in the book. Earthy, bright, and oh so oozy, I’m salivating on my keyboard just thinking about it. I’mma be serving it this weekend for brunch and hoarding the leftovers for dinner the next day. It’s that good.

Y’all, this recipe – and book – is kismet. Star-crossed. And meant. to. be.

Beer Polenta Recipe with Creamy Chard and Poached Eggs - She Eats | Vancouver food photographer & food stylist

Beer Polenta with Creamy Chard and Eggs

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 1/2 C reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 C pale ale
  • 1 C dry polenta
  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 1/2 C + more for garnish shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp Kosher salt divided
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 C chopped red chard
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 large eggs poached (see notes below)

Instructions
 

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the broth, beer, and polenta. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened and the polenta has softened, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Stir in the cream, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and 1 tsp of the salt. Cook until the polenta has absorbed most of the liquid and is well combined with the cheese, about 5 minutes.
  • While the polenta cooks, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chard and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and remaining 1/2 tsp of salt. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Ladle the polenta into four serving bowls. Top each with some of the chard and a poached egg. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve warm.

Notes

Poached eggs. Poached eggs take a touch of practice to get right - you don't want to leave them in the water and overcook them or fully boil the water and destroy the whites. In a wide saute pan, bring about 5" of water + a splash of white (wine) vinegar to a low simmer. Crack each egg into a small prep dish or ramekin. One by one, gently slide each egg into the pot, making sure they aren't touching. Cook 3-4 minutes, until the whites have set but the yolks are still soft. Use a slotted spoon to remove each from the pot and place on a plate or piece of paper towel to drain. Season with salt while hot.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of Lush: A Season-by-Season Celebration of Craft Beer and Produce without expectation or financial compensation. I only recommend, giveaway or share products or services I love, use personally and believe will be good for my readers. All opinions, words and information here are entirely accurate and a reflection of my true experience and were not influenced, in any way, by the above mentioned products or partnerships. Opinions and views are my own. Because that’s how I roll, yo. I’ve never been one to shut my mouth – I’m not going to start now.

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