I don’t know about you guys, but comfort food is my jam – which means chicken and polenta is my jam.
Chicken and polenta is not something I have made until recently. BUT it falls under the comfort food category for me. Given Sloane’s new found obsession with polenta, I’m thinking she categorizes it as the same.
My first polenta experience was in NYC at another hidden gem of a restaurant, Freeman’s – located through an alley that I circled about five times before I found the restaurant. Technically, at Freeman’s, I was also eating grits (just not as smooth as polenta), but it opened me up to a whole new world of deliciousness.
Anyways, this polenta situation is so easy. For the longest time, I was making the pre-made stuff that you just add water to. I’ll be the buzzkill here, but making your own from cornmeal is easier than making that other packaged stuff. The polenta takes under 10 minutes to make, and the only reason it takes that long is that your stock needs to boil. Plus, you control what’s in it. No added salts – you see how much salt you’re adding.
We should probably discuss this chicken too. This chicken is a chicken I’ve made for the past ten years. I LOVE making this when I use thighs with the skin on. The balsamic creates a nice coating, and if you have the heat on high enough on the burner, you’ll get a perfectly crispy-skinned outside and a tender inside situation.
My secret is higher heat to start, medium-high for 4ish minutes per side and then low low low. Like it should take 30 minutes to finish your thighs low.
It is so simple, but the result is one of the best and easiest chicken thigh recipes you’ll make. It’ll be in the repertoire for many dinners. It is not limited to being served with polenta. It can have its own life too.
Chicken and Polenta
serves 3 (weird number, I know – add more chicken for more servings as the polenta makes a ton)
+ 4 chicken thighs
+ garlic salt
+ 4 Tbsp butter
+ 1 Tbsp olive oil
+ 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
+ 4 cups chicken stock
+ 1.5 cups polenta
+ 2 cups shitake mushrooms, sliced
+ 3 cloves garlic, minced
+ 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for serving
+ salt and pepper
1. In a medium-sized pan, melt butter over medium heat, add olive oil.
2. Season one side of chicken generously with garlic salt and pepper. Like generously! I don’t measure; I just shake so every little bit of the chicken is coated.
3. Place the seasoned side of the chicken face down in the pan and drizzle balsamic vinegar over the top, then season the other side of your chicken with garlic salt and pepper.
4. After 4 minutes, flip the chicken and cook another 4 minutes. Turn the heat to low and flip every few minutes until chicken is cooked thoroughly (I say approximately 30-minutes if the temperature of your burner is low enough).
Polenta and Mushrooms (the mushroom situation is optional)
1. In a small frying pan, combine 1 tsp butter, mushrooms, and minced garlic. Sautee until mushrooms are cooked through.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of chicken stock to a boil.
3. Add 1.5 cups polenta, turn down the burner to low, and let cook for 4-5 minutes.
4. Remove polenta from heat. Add remaining butter, parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste.
1. Take your cooked polenta, plate it on the bottom, add your cooked mushrooms and garlic, then your chicken. Top with extra parmesan cheese if you like.
2. Enjoy hot!!! If the polenta cools, all that yumminess I find is gone.