Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Braised Chicken with Spiced Polenta

Cooking skills focus: Braising, sautéing, simmering, balancing flavors

1 gal MINUS 1 C water
   (Note: For creamy polenta it’s a 5:1 water to polenta ratio; for firm polenta it’s 4:1. There are 16 C in 1 gal.)
Light salt for the water
   (Note: taste the water; it should be slightly salty.)

1 T cooking oil
9-10 chicken thighs (or 5 whole legs), scored with a knife
1 onion, julienned
½ head garlic, cloves peeled & sliced thickly

3 C polenta
4 T unsalted butter
2-3 T (spice blend) (whatever you want to experiment with!)

1 T cooking oil
1 bu broccoli rabe, sliced ½” thick
½ head garlic, cloves peeled and sliced thickly

3 lemons, juiced
1 bu green onion, sliced thinly
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Start heating the salted water to a boil in a large pot.
3. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the first 1T oil, then add the chicken, in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pan. Brown them well and set them aside in a deep dish to braise.
4. Heat the sauté pan again over medium-high heat, then add the onions and the first part of the garlic. Cook for 5 minutes then add to the chicken. Cover the braising dish and cook in the oven for 45 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, when the water is boiling, add the polenta and begin to stir immediately. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook and stir until the polenta is done (taste it). Then melt the butter in it and add the 2-3 T spices.
6. Heat a new large sauté pan over high heat and add the last 1 T oil. Add the last of the garlic and the broccoli rabe, reduce the heat to medium-high and sauté for 5 minutes. Set aside.
7. When the chicken is done and cool enough, pull the meat off the bones and mix it with the onions and garlic it braised with.

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