Simple, fresh foods were, and always will be a way of life in Italian cooking – definitely long before the Mediterranean Diet became the new “it” fad. Long days doing an honest day’s work, taking time to appreciate life along the way, stopping to enjoy family, friends and the feast so often shared ~ bake up a fresh loaf of bread, and get ready to revel in the glory that is polenta e pollo.
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 3 T olive oil
- 1 T capers, crushed
- 1/2 c good quality olives
- 16 oz can San Marzano tomatoes, pureed
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs and breasts, rinsed and patted dry
- 1/4 c water
- pinch of crushed red pepper
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1 t oregano
- 3 c water
- 1 T Kosher salt
- 2 c polenta or yellow cornmeal
- 1 c milk
- 1/2 t oregano
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 c grated Parmigiano
To make chicken, sauté garlic and onion and olive oil in large dutch oven or skillet, cook until fragrant over medium heat (3-5 minutes). Place chicken pieces in pan, season with salt and pepper. Cook 6 minutes, then turn to brown other side, 6 minutes. Pour water over chicken, season with oregano and red pepper, cover and cook 10 minutes. Remove lid, add tomatoes, capers and olives; cover and cook for 40-50 minutes or until chicken is tender (you should be able to pull chicken apart with a fork).
Meanwhile, make polenta. In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to boil. In a 2 cup measuring glass, mix milk and polenta; when water starts boiling, gently whisk in polenta, stir constantly to prevent lumps and scorching. Turn heat to medium-low. Add in pepper flakes and oregano. Stir until polenta thickens like a pudding or custard. Remove from heat; add in Parmigiano; if you desire, drizzle a bit of olive oil over top.
To serve, scoop polenta into shallow bowl, top with a piece of chicken and some sauce; add more cheese and olive oil in the true Italian fashion 🙂 – Now, get that bread and get to dipping!