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Monday, August 24, 2009

Greek Chicken and Polenta

This is probably the one recipe I cook for myself when I don't know what to make. This weekend I wanted to make a Philippine noodle recipe but I forgot to buy cabbage. While I always try to find substitutes if I don't have a particular ingredient I didn't have anything that would replicate the volume and texture of cabbage I just decided to scrap the recipe altogether and make Greek Chicken and Polenta. Here are the ingredients:

-A finely chopped onion
-Salt and Pepper
-Sliced chicken breasts (yes, I know. I eat a lot of chicken)

I left this mixture to brown and then added a bottle of passata, which is pureed tomatoes passed through a sieve to remove the seeds and any remaining bits of skin. I always keep a few bottles of this around. It might be a psychological thing but the kind imported from Italy tastes better (yes, I am a food yuppie).

Oh yes, I forgot, I also added sliced sundried tomatoes and pitted Kalamata olives. I forgot to take a picture of this step because I was cooking three things at one and I was trying not to burn the house down. Oops.

To that I added some diced Feta cheese. The real Greek stuff, not the low-fat version. Please don't use the low-fat version or Zeus himself might feel compelled to hurl a thunderbolt at your head. Seriously though, low-fat any kind of cheese is but a feeble imitation of the original. I once bought some low-fat cheddar that tasted like rubber and made my tongue curl in outrage. I'm still trying to repress that memory. Ok, I'm done ranting now.

Then I added chopped parsley, oregano and a pinch of basil. I left this to cook on low for a while so all the ingredients got to know each other.

While that was going on I made polenta. Oh, polenta, how I love thee. If chicken is a blank canvas of protein then polenta is the carbohydrate equivalent. It's basically creamy, corn flavoured mush that goes with everything, like the little black dress of food. The fact that it takes three minutes of effort to make is also a big plus.

I like to make my polenta with half water and half milk. I really like the corn flavour and I think that using chicken broth just masks it. It's ridiculously easy to make. You take two cups of liquid to every cup of polenta. You put the liquid to boil and then you slowly add the polenta and whisk while doing so. You then turn down the heat until the polenta is nice and mushy and then add a generous amount of parmesan, a tablespoon of butter and some salt and pepper. If you've never tried polenta please do so. You don't even need to buy "polenta", I use run of the mill cornmeal and it works well.

Here is the finished meal with an extra sprinkling of feta on top. I was so hungry when I ate it so it tasted extra awesome. This also reheats really well and makes great leftovers to bring to work. Hot cheesy polenta goes together so well with tomato sauce and black olives. I love trying new recipes so I rarely make things twice but I've made this multiple times and I still haven't gotten bored of it.
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