CHICKEN CACCIATORE AND CREAMY PARMESAN POLENTA
I made this dish only because I have been slowly dying for weeks now (like that of a cheese fiend who was so devoid of salty curdled milk chunks that I was literally worried I’d do permanent damage to my bones due to calcium deficiency) to eat something with cheese. And lucky me, I found a box of polenta in our storecupboard and a bag of pre-grated Parmesan Cheese… Yes, pre-grated supermarket Parmesan Cheese! Because desperate craving calls for desperate use of not-the-real-Parmigiano-Reggiano-but-just-a-sacrilegious-bag-of-grated-mediocre-version-of-it.
The Chicken Cacciatore…
well was an afterthought an excuse Is a dish that pairs well with this Creamy Parmesan Polenta. Anyways, they are both delish!
4 pieces chicken breasts
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (for dredging)
1/2 cup canola oil (for pan-frying)
Marinade: For the chicken
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs seasoning
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Place chicken breasts on a shallow dish or a ziploc bag. Combine all the marinade ingredients and pour over the chicken. Marinate for 30 minutes inside the fridge.
- After marination, dredge the chicken breasts in flour. Heat a medium-size skillet with canola oil over medium-high heat. Pan-fry chicken until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
1 cup canned Garlic and Herbs spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup canned stewed tomatoes, pureed
2 tablespoons dry red wine
2 cups chicken stock (I used 1 chicken bouillon cube and dissolved it in 2 cups of hot water)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped fine
1 medium head garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs seasoning
salt and cracked black pepper according to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar (to balance the acidity of the tomatoes)
2 tablespoons flat-leaf / Italian parsley, chopped fine
- Heat a large sauce pan over moderate heat. Add the EVOO. Saute onions until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and saute until soft.
- Add the dried Italian herbs and dry red wine. Pour the flavored spaghetti sauce and stewed tomato puree (blitz the canned stewed tomatoes in a blender or food processor) into the pan followed by the chicken stock. Simmer sauce for 1/2 an hour or until reduced in half.
- When sauce has reduced, season with sugar and salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer sauce in a blender or food processor and blitz until pureed. Transfer the pureed sauce back into the sauce pan and reheat over low fire. Add the pan-fried chicken breasts into the pan of sauce.
Creamy Parmesan Polenta:
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup polenta
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk (I preferred to use this because it is creamier than regular milk, but not as rich as heavy cream)
1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
- In a medium saucepan, heat chicken stock well up to a simmering stage. When the stock is reasonably hot, temporarily remove from heat. Using a wire whisk, whisk-in the polenta into the hot chicken stock making sure to break off the lumps (whisking a bit vigorously will do the job, making the polenta smooth).
- Add the butter and continue to whisk until well incorporated. Place the saucepan back on the heat and add the evaporated milk and parmesan cheese. Whisk until polenta is smooth then turn off the heat.
- Place the Chicken Cacciatore alongside the Creamy Parmesan Polenta and sprinkle with finely chopped Italian parsley. Buon Appetito!
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