Chicken Thighs and Polenta

March 29, 2011

    I wouldn’t have come up with this without the help and inspiration of so many of you, my readers.  When I posted about my polenta board, I asked for ideas and boy, did I get a bunch of good ones.   Thank you!

Once again I needed something easy to cook for a crowd and chicken thighs over polenta were the answer.  Don’t like thighs?  This’ll work with any chicken.  Don’t like polenta?  The chicken stands alone nicely but it’d also be terrific with rice or mashed potatoes or pasta or whatever strikes your fancy.

It’s easy, tasty and left me with a big container of gravy in the freezer that’ll be put to use as a soup base sometime soon.

I was cooking for ten so I made 20 thighs.  It’s really easy to do this in much smaller batches.

Chicken Thighs, 20, rinsed and patted dry
Garlic, 7 or 8 cloves, crushed and peeled
Yellow or White Onions, 3 or 4 small onions
Thyme, Oregano and Marjoram, a tablespoon or two if using fresh, a little less if using dry
Bay Leaves, 3 or 4
Tomato Paste, 2 tablespoons
Dry White Wine, 1 1/2 cups
Chicken Bouillon, 4 cups
Olive Oil

Heat a little olive oil over medium to medium-high heat.  Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper and brown it on each side.  Even with the large roaster pan set over town burners I had to do this in batches.  If you’re not cooking for a small army, a large saute pan will work nicely.

While the chicken is browning chop the onion, crush the garlic and snip the herbs.

Remove the chicken to a platter.  Add the onions and garlic to the pan and stir for a few minutes over medium heat, until they begin to soften and brown.  Add the herbs and tomato paste and continue cooking for another minute or two, until it’s all well-blended.

Add the wine and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Bring it to a low boil and let it cook until it’s reduced by about half.

Return the chicken to the pan and add the broth.  I could have used about half as much as I did but I ended up with enough left over to make a terrific soup base.  The choice is yours.

Bake uncovered at 325 for 30 to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, while the chicken is in the oven, mix up a batch of Parmesan Polenta.

Once the chicken is out of the oven, spread the polenta onto a board or platter.  Let it sit for a few minutes, until the edges begin to firm up.

You can also serve up the chicken and polenta separately and combine them on individual plates.

Remove the chicken from the pan and arrange it on top of the polenta.  Strain out the bay leaves and skim the excess fat from the top of the gravy and set the pan back on the stove top.  Bring it to a gentle boil and let it cook until it’s reduced by about a third.

Pour the sauce into a bowl and pass it separately, ladling it over the plate.  Enjoy!

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