Monday, March 1, 2010

Rosemary Polenta: Day 3 of Slow Cooker Whole Chicken Menu

We've been a little chickened-out around these parts, so I decided to turn to the juices left over from the chicken to make a fun new recipe. The adventure that ensued is below.I've made polenta before and while I think this is by far my favorite polenta recipe I have yet to try (not surprising, all things Ina Garten are just delicious), I do have to say that I'm just not an all-around polenta kind of girl. I mean, I like it, it's a fun texture, it's rich...but it's a little heavy and uni-taste for me. I did, however, enjoy eating it with some fun side dishes to cleanse my palette! The fresh rosemary mixed with the crushed red pepper flakes was a really fun combination. I did take issue with the amount of butter, oil, and half and half in the recipe, so I reduced the half and half to just milk and it turned out fine. I wouldn't, however, go too skimpy on the butter when you're frying them. I found that the oil and butter created the perfect temperature for the perfect crispiness for the polentas.
I had to fuss around a bit while trying to get the perfect timing so that my polentas weren't too soft or weren't blackened and by the 3rd round of polentas I had it just right (this made a lot, by the way. I 3/4-ed the recipe and it will easily feed my husband and I for lunch tomorrow.
When it came to adding the chicken broth, I scraped the fat off the top of my chicken juices and added about 1/2 cup of water and stirred it around and then dumped it into the polenta. I'm going to guess this gave me around 2 cups 'broth'. Since I cooked the chicken in salt I didn't add any salt. The flavor and texture turned out wonderfully!

The moral of the story is: if you want to use your leftover chicken juice on something adventurous, try this recipe, it was fun and yummy. However, if you want to use them on something more simple, you could make a gravy or use it in a quinoa, couscous, or rice dish.

This dish could also be easily converted to vegetarian if you use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

3 Stars.

Recipe here and below.

Rosemary Polenta
(Barefoot Contessa)

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup good grated Parmesan
  • Flour, olive oil, and butter, for frying

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary, salt, and pepper and saute for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, half-and-half, and milk and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly sprinkle the cornmeal into the hot milk while stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for a few minutes, until thickened and bubbly. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan. Pour into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch pan, smooth the top, and refrigerate until firm and cold.

Cut the chilled polenta into 12 squares, as you would with brownies. Lift each one out with a spatula and cut diagonally into triangles. Dust each triangle lightly in flour. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large saute pan and cook the triangles in batches over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, turning once, until browned on the outside and heated inside. Add more butter and oil, as needed. Serve immediately.

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