Three Sisters Garden & Tart Cherry Pecan Crisp by Prairie Grass Cafe

Three Sisters Garden & Tart Cherry Pecan Crisp by Prairie Grass CafeThree Sisters Garden
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Makes 4 servings

  • 1 whole head garlic
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, kale or lamb’s-quarters
  • 1 pound fresh oyster and/or shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 fresh hot pepper, such as serrano or habanero, seeded, minced
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 cup fine white cornmeal
  • Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock or broth
  • 1 (2-ounce) piece firm grating cheese such as Brunkow Cheeese’s Little Darling


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Separate garlic head into cloves; do not peel cloves. Roast garlic cloves in a large dry skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until they begin to brown and garlic feels soft when squeezed, 8 to 10 minutes. Peel and finely chop garlic; set aside.
  2. Wash chard; shake off excess water. Holding onto leaves, pull off and discard thick stems. Coarsely chop chard; set aside. Clean mushrooms discarding tough stems; cut mushrooms into bite-sized pieces; set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, bring milk just to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium; pour in cornmeal slowly, whisking constantly. Whisk in 1/2 teaspoon salt. When mixture is slightly thickened, cover saucepan and place in oven. Whisk after 10 minutes.
  4. Continue to bake 10 minutes; whisk again. If polenta is too thick, stir in additional milk or water. If it is too thin, cover and return to oven for 5 minutes. Stir in pepper; keep warm.
  5. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and reserved garlic; sauté until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add onion, hot pepper and thyme sprigs; continue to sauté for 5 minutes. Add chard and 1/2 cup broth; cook, stirring occasionally, until chard is tender. If dry, add remaining 1/4 cup broth. Season to taste with salt.
  6. Spoon polenta into 4 shallow bowls; top with vegetable mixture. Grate cheese over each serving.

Three Sisters Garden & Tart Cherry Pecan Crisp by Prairie Grass CafeTart Cherry Pecan Crisp
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Makes 6 servings

  • 1 quart (4 cups) tart cherries, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Mix cherries and granulated sugar in a bowl; mix well.
  2. Mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Add butter; mix with a pastry blender or quickly with fingers until small pea-sized pieces form. Stir in pecans.
  3. Place cherry mixture in an 8- or 9-inch-square baking pan. Place the topping mixture on top of the cheeries. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the topping is browned and the filling is bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

About Prairie Grass Cafe
Prairie Grass Cafe (601 Skokie Blvd.; Northbrook, IL; 847-205-4433) supports Chicago’s Green City Market and local sustainable farms, selecting the freshest ingredients to reflect the season. Prairie Grass Cafe currently serves lunch Monday – Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner Monday through Sunday. Dinner is served Tuesday – Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Monday and Sunday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Prairie Grass Cafe also serves breakfast Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays 9:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Light fare is available in the bar Monday through Friday 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information or to make a reservation, please call (847) 205-4433 or visit