Simple Dinners: Chicken and Polenta

I know, this doesn’t sound like much. But one of my promises on this blog was simple recipes which are versatile and easy to adapt depending on flavor. Today, I write about polenta- a forgotten grain which makes a delicious bed for just about anything.

First- polenta is not some fancy high-class grain imported from far away. It’s cornmeal. Simple, plain cornmeal that you get in the baking aisle. What makes this a super side is how flexible it is and how simple it is to make flavors blend with it. Today, I will give the basic recipes and steps to cook polenta. Don’t be afraid to change up the flavors for your meal. Try some of these combinations below:

  • Italian: Basic recipe + fresh parsley + LOTS of parmesan cheese
  • Greek: Basic recipe + sun dried tomatoes, minced, fresh garlic, minced, dried oregano + feta cheese
  • Spanish: Basic recipe + paprika + oregano + a pinch of cayenne + manchego cheese

Pretty much, the sky is the limit- so long as you have some sort of herb and some sort of cheese, you can pretty much add anything. I even have added fresh tomatoes or peppers; there is really nothing this recipe resists supporting. The greatest part of this dish is that is takes literally 10 minutes from start to finish, but it looks like you spent hours. Take the credit; you earned it.


Polenta Like a Pro

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Any seasonings or flavorings you choose to add
  • Any cheese you choose to add (parm is always safe)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Combine the liquids in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. DO NOT BOIL.
  2. SLOWLY, whisk in the cornmeal to the warm liquid. Work slowly and stir constantly, or the cornmeal will form lumps.
  3. Continue stirring until thickened (2-4 minutes).
  4. At this point, add your butter, cheese, and seasoning and stir until cheese is melted and butter is incorporated. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  5. Serve with whatever protein your heart desires.
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