Monday, October 12, 2009

Mediterranean Braised Chicken Thighs with Polenta

Fall is in the air all over the country and it has even snowed in some states. Here in AZ we equate fall with less than 100 degree temperatures and opening the windows at night to catch a 70 degree breeze. With it cooling off, a nice hearty dish seemed perfect. I got this recipe from Everyday Food magazine and I cut it in half since the hubby does not eat fish or fowl.

Serves 4

* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 8 chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds total)
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
* 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved if large
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
* 1/2 cup dry white wine
* 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
* 3 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
* 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in two batches, cook chicken until browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat and return pot to heat.
2. Add garlic, tomatoes, and oregano; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine and cook, scraping up browned bits, until almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Add broth; return chicken, skin side up, to pot. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 15 minutes. Add zucchini; season with salt and pepper. Cover; simmer until chicken is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in lemon juice.
3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine 4 1/2 cups water, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Whisking constantly, slowly add cornmeal. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, whisking frequently, until polenta has thickened, 20 to 25 minutes; whisk in butter. Serve chicken and vegetables over polenta.

First thing we need are the ingredients. I got some gorgeous and tasty heirloom cherry tomatoes but you can use regular ones, lemon, zucchini, chicken thighs, cornmeal, chicken broth, garlic, white wine, oregano and butter.

Chop up the zucchini, juice the lemon and measure out the wine and stock.

Chop the garlic.

Get your water seasoned with salt and pepper and on its way to boiling for the polenta.

Heat some olive oil in a dutch oven.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Drop them in the hot oil to brown.

Measure out your cornmeal.

Stir it into the boiling water.

Flip your chicken.

Keep an eye on your polenta and give it a stir.

After the chicken is browned get it out of there. Replace it with the tomatoes and the oregano. Let this cook for about 30 seconds.

Pour in the wine and scrape up any of the browned chicken bits. Let this cook for about a minute.

Grab your chicken that has been patiently resting nearby and return it to the pot.

Chicken is in skin side up and ready to simmer.

Cover and cook for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, don't forget to stir your polenta.

After the 15 minutes have elapsed, stir in your zucchini and some salt and pepper. Cover and let this cook for about 10-15 more minutes.

When it is just about time to eat, add in some butter (and cheese if you are like me) to the polenta and give it a final whisk.

Take the lid off the chicken and you are ready to plate.

This meal is full of flavor but also full of good for you vegetables. This is the perfect weekend dinner.


  1. What's your preference for the cheese in your polenta?

  2. What's your preference for the cheese in your polenta?

  3. This is definitely one I need to try! I love polenta, and I am jealous of your gorgeous pot.