Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chicken Cacciatore with Creamy Polenta - serves at least 4

With Valentines' upon us, I write to you this recipe to wow your significant other.  I figured if I sent this tonight, you'd have time tomorrow to get everything and prepare this meal for a Valentine's treat.  Not to say that Valentines Day should even be celebrated.  I think of it a  Hallmark Holiday; a reason to send flowers, chocolate and a card when in my opinion, should be sent to a loved one when not told to do so.  After being with my husband for 18 years, the " I'm sending you flowers just because" days are only archaic memories.  Did I mention that my husband is also a landscaper?  Yes, he did at one time come home with flowers, but I can't remember the last time I had them delivered.  Even when I had a corporate job, all the other girls would get flowers on Valentines, and I, nada.  There's something to be said about having flowers delivered, put in the lobby so everyone can see and wonder who they're for and walking off with that "na-na, nee-boo-boo" grin as you gallantly show them off when you take them to your office.  THAT'S really what Valentines Day is all about, ladies and gentlemen.  It's so your significant other can have bragging rights.  So, if you decide to make this dish and place it in front of your Valentine, give them that same grin and seal it with a kiss. They'll just wish they had sent flowers.


 1 red onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves crushed
 1/2 pound sliced button mushrooms
 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
 14.5 ounces canned tomatoes, diced
 1/2 cup red wine
 1 cup organic chicken stock
 1/2 tsp  whole rosemary leaves
 2 tsp teaspoon whole oregano leaves
  salt and pepper
 1 whole organic chicken, cut up
 1/2 cup all purpose flour
 2 tablespoons olive oil for frying
1 bag frozen organic peas

Preheat oven at 375.  Heat a Dutch oven  with olive oil  and saute onion, garlic and mushrooms until caramelized, about 10 minutes.  Add wine and chicken stock and simmer and reduce for 15 minutes.  Add tomato, herbs, salt and pepper.  Meanwhile, heat a second pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Dredge chicken in flour and brown pieces until golden, about 3 minutes per side.  Transfer to an ovenproof casserole dish and submerge chicken in sauce.  Cover and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and add peas, stirring within sauce.  Cover again and let sit for 5 minutes and serve over Creamy Polenta (recipe below).

Creamy Polenta

4 cups water
Salt to taste 
1 cup medium-grain yellow polenta
4 tablespoons butter 
1 cup 1/3 fat cream cheese

Heat water lightly seasoned with salt to a boil over high heat, about 5 minutes. Quickly whisk in the polenta until fully incorporated.  Lower the heat to a low simmer, add the butter and allow the polenta to cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.  Finish by stirring in the cream cheese and salt to taste.

If preparing in advance, cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat in the microwave, about 5 minutes on high, just before serving. Stir vigorously after reheating to fluff.

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