Rustic Tomato Sauce for Polenta

I picked up this recipe from my hubby's grandmother. The first time I had polenta, I couldn't believe how good the sauce was. 

I have made a few small changes to her recipe, but it's pretty much like hers.  I used fresh tomatoes instead of canned. I chose Roma tomatoes, since they are plump and sweet, and a few vine-ripened regular tomatoes. They cooked down nicely. Make sure to use regular onions. As much as I like sweet onions, they don't taste right in tomato sauce like this.

I was too starved for dinner to make my polenta formed and toasted, so I scooped it into bowls, added some of the sliced meat, then poured about a ladle-full of sauce on top.

It was fantastic! This sauce it worth the effort.

One more thing, I have heard from dear hubby that this is also great made with wild birds instead of chicken. Since hunting season is coming up, I will have to wait and see if he brings home any chukar or sage hen for me to cook up.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 pork shoulder steak, about 1lb
1 large white onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
10-12 tomatoes, mostly Roma, some on the vine
3 Tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 Tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
7 stems chard, stems removed, leaves chopped (I used rainbow chard)
1/3 cup white wine
1/2 cup water
1 8oz can tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt, black pepper, dried red pepper to taste

1. In a large pot, begin your sauce by cooking onion, celery, garlic, chard, sage, parsley, thyme together until they start to cook down. This should take about 10-15 minutes.

2. Add the chopped tomatoes to the pot. Let it come to a boil, and continue a low boil for about 10 minutes.

3. Add the tomato sauce, wine, and season to taste with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Let simmer about 30 minutes.

4. Season the chicken and pork with salt and pepper. In a separate frying pan, heat the olive oil then brown the pork and chicken.  They should be mostly cooked through.

5. Add meats to the tomato sauce. Make sure they are submerged. If not, add the water, stir, and poke the meat into the sauce so it is covered by the sauce.  Cover the pot with a lid and let simmer at least1 hour. I let this go for about 1.5 hrs. The flavors turn out better and the sauce thickens more when you aren't in a hurry.

6. Remove meats and slice up. 

7. Serve sliced meat over polenta with the tomato sauce on top.


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