Braised Salt Cod

Braised Salt Cod

2 lbs salt cod
2 bunches chard or other greens
3/4 cup olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
8 leeks, including greens, thinly sliced
1/2 small head cabbage, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 cups dry white wine
1 can (about 1 lb) whole tomatoes
3 cans tomato sauce (8oz cans)
1 can chicken broth
hot cooked polenta (recipe below)

Wash cod under cold running water, then immerse in a container of cold water. Cover and refrigerate, change water 2 or 3 times, for 24 to 48 hours. Place cod in a 3-4 quart pan and add boiling water to cover. simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes; drain, then cover with cold water. When cool enough to touch, remove and discard all bones, skin and cartilage. Cover and refrigerate cod until ready to use. chop chard; reserve 2 cups of the green tops. In a 5-6 quart kettle, heat oil. When oil is hot, add remaining chard, along with onions, leeks and cabbage. Cook, stirring, over high heat until vegetables are soft. Blend in wine, tomatoes (break up with a spoon) and their liquid, tomato sauce and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Add cooked cod to sauce. Cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 1 more hour. Immerse reserved chard greens in boiling water and cook over high heat, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Drain well and stir into cod mixture. Ladle into wide bowls over spoonfuls or slices of hot polenta.


6 cups water
1 tsp salt
2 cups polenta or cornmeal
3 tbsps butter (optional)
grated or shredded cheese such as parmesan, romano, fontina or jack

In a large deep pan over hight heat, bring water and salt to a boil; gradually stir in polenta. Reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until mixture is very thick – about 30 minutes. Use a long-handled spoon because mixture pops and bubbles and can burn you. Stir in 3 tbsps butter, if you wish, and add salt if needed. Butter a deep medium-sized bowl. Spoon polenta into bowl and let set for 10 minutes. Invert onto a flat plate; mixture will unmold and hold shape of bowl. Cut polenta into thick slices and serve hot, topped with more butter and cheese, or any meat or tomato sauce that is intended to spoon onto pastas.


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