Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August 15: Chicken in Puttanesca Sauce over Creamy Polenta

2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 cup whole milk
   Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 packages (1 3/4 to 2 pounds) chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tin flat anchovy fillets, drained
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
20 oil-cured black olives, cracked away from pits and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1 28-ounce can chunky-style crushed tomatoes, such as Furmano's brand
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1 cup quick-cooking polenta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

To start the creamy polenta, in a sauce pot over medium-high heat combine the chicken stock and milk and season with salt and pepper. Bring up to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low.

While the stock and milk are heating, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the EVOO. Season the chicken chunks with salt and pepper. Add to the hot skillet and cook until lightly brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the skillet to a plate, cover with aluminum foil, and reserve. Return the skillet to the cook top; add the remaining 3 tablespoons of EVOO. Add the garlic, anchovies, and red pepper flakes.

Saute the mixture until the anchovies melt into the oil and completely dissolve and the garlic becomes tender, about 3 minutes. Add the olives, capers, tomatoes, black pepper, and parsley.

Bring the sauce to a bubble, add the chicken back to the pan, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.

To the simmering chicken stock and milk add the polenta and whisk constantly until the cornmeal masses together, 2 minutes. Add the butter and grated cheese, stirring to combine. Keep in mind that polenta is very forgiving: if it becomes too thick, you can always add more stock or milk.

Serve the polenta in shallow bowls and top with a helping of the chicken and puttanesca sauce.


This meal is very tasty, probably because it's loaded with fat. My diabetes educator lectured me today on the dangers of fat to my blood sugar, so I felt a little guilty eating all this butter and oil. I did cut back on the oil a little, but not much. I used 1% milk instead of whole, but I don't know that that helped much either. I couldn't find flat anchovies in the store, so I just bought the rolled kind. The polenta was very good. I usually use cornmeal instead of polenta, but my cornmeal is old, so it always tasted stale. This instant polenta I bought tasted much fresher. I changed to Parmesan from Parmigiano-Reggiano. I would also have rearranged the order of the recipe to cook the chicken first, then heat your milk and stock, keeping an eye on it so it doesn't boil over.

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