Seems like just yesterday Amy and I were telling you about our big summer plans; how we didn’t know what the Lord had in store for summer and how we just were so looking forward to a summer of adventure, family, great food, internships and beef advocacy.  Well I will tell you that summer has come and gone just too fast and while there is still about a month until school starts in the morning I will be leaving the ranch and heading back east by way of Morgan, Utah to spend a few days with family there.   Summer has not been what Amy nor I had planned by any means, but we have both grown a lot, loved a lot, and lived the past couple months to their full potential.  Ya know family is very important to me and I know it is to Amy as well.  Our heritage is what makes us who we are, and ya know heritage goes beyond state lines.  It’s about who we are because of who our parents, grandparents and great grandparents are and were.  It’s our values and our principles, it is our favorite meals, our favorite hymns and our favorite verses.  I will tell you that there is no better place to connect with your heritage than the ranch that your great grandparents started upon arrival from Switzerland, the place you were raised, the place your daddy and pappa were raised.  My great grandparents started this ranch with a sense of adventure and a dream of a future for their family and if I could only approach my life with half their sense of adventure and wisdom I will be alright.  Amy and I have been blessed beyond belief and have been given two things from our families that will last forever….Roots & Wings!  This dish is a family tradition it is called polenta… it is one of my favorites so I thought it more than fitting to share with you today!

Beef & Linguicia Polenta
1/2 lb ground beef
1 link Linguicia
2 cans diced tomatoes
3 leaves Swiss Chard
1/2 C mushrooms
1 T minced Garlic
4 T Pesto
4 T butter
1 Cup Polenta meal or Course ground corn meal
1/4 C Red Wine (optional)
1 C Parmesan Cheese
Salt, Pepper, Cumin, Oregano

In large skillet place the sliced linguica and 1 T butter, sautee this over medium heat, add the ground beef and seasonings.  Cook until brown, do not drain.  Next add 2 cans of diced tomatoes, and the mushrooms.  (I used dried wild mushrooms because that is what I had on hand but you can use any you wish) At this time chop the Swiss chard, Mom and Dad have some growing in the garden but if you can’t find chard any green will work.  You can also start the water to boiling for your polenta, just follow the directions on the bag.  Next add the pesto to the skillet, I used homemade but you can find it at the store fairly easy.  Now you can add the wine, I used a Sangiovese because that is what was on the table, but any red will work as long as it is not sweet, or if you don’t like wine leave it out…totally up to you! Now you can add the chard and let it wilt and cook down.  In a casserole dish, butter the bottom to ensure nothing sticks.  When preparing the polenta don’t forget to salt your water, just like any time you boil pasta please just salt the water, I don’t know why it is better but I know that it is better so just trust this Swiss girl!  Stir real fast as you pour the polenta meal into the boiling water otherwise you will get clumps, this is just like fixing grits if you are more familiar with that dish.  Then pour the meat and tomato gravy into the pan. Cover with parmesan cheese.  Spread the polenta over the top and cover with cheese again.  Then bake the dish for about 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven, just enough time to blend the flavors and melt the cheese.  Serve alone or with french bread or green salad.

Beef & Linguicia Polenta
1/2 lb ground beef- $1.30
1 link Linguicia- $1.50
2 cans diced tomatoes- $2.00
3 leaves Swiss Chard- $0.35
1/2 C mushrooms- $0.50
1 T minced Garlic- $0.30
4 T Pesto- $0.70
4 T butter- $0.40
1 Cup Polenta meal or Course ground corn meal- $0.50
1/4 C Red Wine (optional)- $0.40
1 C Parmesan Cheese- $1.50
Salt, Pepper, Cumin, Oregano- $0.50
Total Cost  – $9.95 (Serves 6)
Cost per plate- $1.65

I hope that you have enjoyed this little peek into my heritage, I will leave you with some wisdom from my great Aunt Louise who is 102.  “Just take each day as it comes, day by day, don’t worry about tomorrow until tomorrow, if you do that than maybe we will get to keep you around for 100 years like you have had me.”

Happy Trails,

~ Anna-Lisa