Italian Chicken and Veggie Cobbler

17 03 2015

This is a savory and fun take on a fruit cobbler, made with chicken and veggies. The original version topped this with cornmeal dumplings, but I substituted with polenta. You could switch out different veggies for what you have on hand, or could also use Italian sausage in place of the chicken, making this a versatile dish.

Italian Chicken and Veggie Cobbler

The following serves 4-6 (adapted from Cuisine at Home):

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • Granulated garlic
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 can cannellini beans (15.5 oz) drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 8 oz of fresh spinach
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk (unsweetened almond milk or skim milk)
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 400.

Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add chicken, season with a little Italian seasoning, salt and granulated garlic. Saute until just beginning to brown, then transfer to a plate.

Add onions, broccoli and bell peppers to the skillet; cook 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and tomato paste and cook 1 minute.

Deglaze the pan with wine, scrapping up any brown bits, and reduce until nearly evaporated. Stir in beans, 1 tsp Italian seasoning and the cooked chicken. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

Whisk together 1 cup of broth with the cornstarch and add to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until thickened, 5 minutes. Add the spinach and stir until the spinach is wilted and cooked down. Season lightly with salt to taste. Remove from the heat and make the polenta.

In a small-medium saucepan, heat the water, milk and remaining cup of broth over medium-high. Bring to a slow boil, then whisk in the cornmeal. Whisk well and bring to a boil. Lower heat and stir with a wooden spoon, constantly until thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in the parmesan cheese, mixing well, then remove from heat.

Pour the polenta evenly all over the chicken and veggie mixture, smoothing out if needed. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove cobbler from the oven and allow to stand 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley before serving.

Polenta Squares With Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Basil

15 06 2014

This is a unique, and tasty appetizer that I’m sure you won’t see at many parties! It’s perfect for summer picnics or potlucks because you serve it room temperature. You could also serve these polenta squares as a side dish, making this versatile too.

Polenta Squares with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Basil

The following makes 12-16 squares (adapted from The Party Girl Cookbook):

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 6 oz. sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped (Don’t waste the oil, save it to use in something else!)
  • 1 cup chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Bring water to a boil in a large sauce pot over high heat. Add salt. Slowly add the cornmeal and whisk constantly. When the mixture boils (which will happen quickly and be careful, the mixture will be hot), reduce the heat to low and continue stirring (with a wooden spoon) until very thick, about 30 minutes.

Add the sun-dried tomatoes and basil and stir well. Pour the polenta into a square 2.5 quart casserole dish sprayed with non-stick spray, making sure to spread evenly. Chill in the fridge until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes until lightly browned. Cool to room temperature and cut into squares. You can get more squares if you go for smaller, bite-size pieces.

You can make this a day or two ahead of time and store covered in the fridge. Just bring to room temperature before serving.

Chorizo With Black Beans and Cheddar Polenta

13 06 2014

Tonight’s yummy Mexican dinner was made with nearly all Fresh Fork Market ingredients from our share this week, and was a labor of love! While not too complicated, there are multiple parts to this which did take some time. Like the black beans for instance….I used dried for the first time and am now converted! The most time-consuming part of making dried beans is soaking them, so just plan ahead, and either soak overnight or in the morning before you head to work.

Chorizo with black beans and cheddar polenta

The following serves 2-4 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 cup organic dried black beans
  • Water
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 3 smashed garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 pound bulk ground chorizo
  • 1 bell pepper, whatever color you like, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic scapes, chopped or garlic cloves minced
  • 1 small head fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 cups low-sodium, reduced-fat chicken broth, plus more for deglazing
  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Fresh chopped cilantro
  • Fresh salsa
  • Corn crackers or tortilla chips for garnish

Rinse black beans well, in a strainer. Soak 1 cup of dried beans in 3 cups of water for 6-10 hours. You can either do this overnight, or in the morning before you head to work. After 6-10 hours, drain the beans, add to a medium pot and add 3 cups of water or chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the cumin, oregano, bay leaves, smashed garlic cloves, and 1/4 cup chopped onion. Cook over medium heat for 60 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. If your liquid starts to evaporate before the beans are done, just add some more water or stock. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the diced chilies, juice of 1 lime and salt to taste.

Start the chorizo part after the beans have been cooking for about 30 minutes. In a large cast iron skillet, heat a little olive oil over medium-high heat and add the small chopped onion and bell peppers. Saute for a few minutes until beginning to softened. Add the garlic scapes or garlic, cook until fragrant about a minute. Add the chorizo, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Saute until the meat crumbles and starts to get a nice brown on it, stirring occasionally. Deglaze the pan with a little chicken stock, a turn or two of the pan. Be sure to scrape up any brown bits that have formed on the bottom of the pan. Add spinach to the chorizo and cook until wilted. Season lightly with salt to taste.

Next make the polenta, just note it cooks fast. Also note this portion is for about 2 people. Bring 2 cups chicken broth to a boil. Slowly whisk in the corn meal. Reduce heat to low and continue to whisk the polenta constantly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and vigorously stir in the cheddar cheese until fully melted and incorporated.

Right before serving, garnish both the chorizo mixture and the black beans with some chopped cilantro.

To serve, dish out the polenta, the black beans and the chorizo mixture onto plates. Top with a dollop of fresh salsa and some corn crackers or tortilla chips for some crunch and for scooping.

Stuffed and Grilled Steak Roulade Over Polenta

25 07 2012

This innovative recipe improves on traditional grilled steak roulade with a simplified technique. Traditional stuffing technique requires intense knife work and pounding into shape. But all you have to do here is cut the flank steak in half so it opens like a book….or find it already thin sliced in the store like me! And the easy marinade of wine and soy sauce will help tenderize the steak while adding deep flavor and caramelizing into a rich glaze during grilling. Pair with my go-to polenta and it’s a perfect dinner!

Stuffed and Grilled Steak Roulade Over Polenta

The following makes 4 servings of steak and 2 servings of polenta (compliments of Cuisine at Home):

  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 and 1/2 lb flank steak, trimmed and cut in half
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomato pesto
  • Feta cheese
  • Handful of kalamata olives, sliced
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • Olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Combine wine, soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, tomato paste, black pepper and pepper flakes in a resealable plastic bag. Seal and shake until sugar dissolves.

If you’re using a full 1 and 1/2 pound flank steak, here’s how to cut it: using a sharp knife, slice the steak in half lengthwise, leaving one end attached, until it opens like a book. Otherwise, save yourself even more time with This Girl’s tip: look for pre-cut thin slices of steak in the grocery store. The recipe says flank steak is the best to use here, but I found a round that was pre-sliced into long thin slices and that’s what I used for this recipe.

Marinate the meat in the bag with the marinade for 30 minutes, turning once.

Prepare grill for indirect grilling, heating one side to medium-high and the other side to low. Brush grate with oil.

Fill steak with the stuffing (first spread the pesto, top with olives and feta cheese). Roll so that one side overlaps the other by an inch; secure with a skewer by carefully threading a metal skewer through the two overlapping sides of the steak. You can use this same technique for one large flank steak, or the individual pre-sliced steak.

Grill stuffed steak, covered, over medium-high heat. If you’re using the whole flank steak, grill for 12 minutes total, turning to sear on all four sides. If you’re using individual pre-sliced steak, grill for just a few minutes on each side until well seared. Once seared on all sides, move the steak to the low heat side and grill for a few more minutes for the pre-sliced and about 6 minutes for the whole steak; flipping once. Remove the steak roll to a cutting board; tent with foil and rest 10 minutes before slicing.

While the steak is resting, make the polenta. Bring chicken stock to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in cornmeal, reduce to low, and simmer until thick, 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Off heat, finish with some feta cheese, salt to taste and a drizzle of olive oil.

To serve, remove skewer and slice steak roll against the grain into 1-inch-thick rounds. Serve over polenta.

Pork Ragu Over Creamy Parmesan Polenta

1 03 2012

This is a knock out meal kids….Rachel Ray’s luscious pork ragu paired with my go-to creamy parm polenta, make for a must try 🙂

Pork Ragu Over Creamy Parmesan Polenta

The following serves 4 (courtesy of Rachel Ray):

  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery from the heart with leafy tops, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lb pork (I used ground pork, Rachel uses pork shoulder)
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • Polenta (see recipe below)
  • Handful chopped parsley leaves
  • Shredded parmigiano cheese

Heat large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add a little olive oil and the pork, breaking up in pieces. Saute over medium-high heat until it starts to get a golden brown color. Add 2 more Tbsp olive oil along with the carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Stir in the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook the veggies until soft, about 5 – 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir for 1 minute, then add the wine and cook for another minute. Next stir in the stock and bring sauce to a simmer. Next add a pinch of ground cloves (this really gives a nice depth of flavor).

When the sauce returns to a simmer add the milk and reduce the heat to low. Let the sauce mellow for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After about 30 minutes, start the polenta.

Creamy Parmesan Polenta:

  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, grated
  • Salt to taste

Bring milk and broth to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in cornmeal, reduce heat to low and simmer until thick, 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Off heat finish with parmesan and a little salt.

You can make the pork ragu ahead of time and reheat over medium-low heat. You may need to add a splash of water or stock when you’re reheating the sauce to thin it out a bit.

Serve the sauce atop the creamy polenta and garnish with lots of cheese and parsley.

Lemon-Sage Chicken Cutlets with Creamy Parm Polenta

5 12 2011

My post on facebook tonight says it all: “The chateau is filled with the aroma of talent! Yep, that would be me cooking!” I paired this chicken dish from the Food Network holiday mag with one of my go-to polenta recipes. Believe me, this meal will help you feel the talent too…and don’t be shy, it’s OK to brag a little 🙂

Lemon-Sage Chicken Cutlets with Creamy Parm Polenta

The following two recipes serve 2:

  • 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 and 1/4 lbs)
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper
  • All-purpose flour for dredging
  • 2 large eggs
  • Juice of 1 lemon, plus wedges for serving (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 springs sage, leaves only
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (best if it’s cold)

Slice each chicken breast in half horizontally to make 2 thin cutlets. Sprinkle lightly with water, place between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound until 1/4 inch thick. The chicken breasts I used must not have been as thick as what the recipe called for, because they were thin enough once I sliced in half. Either way, once you have them to the desired thickness, season with salt and pepper.

Pour some flour into a shallow dish and season lightly with salt. Lightly beat eggs with the lemon juice in another shallow dish.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Dredge the cutlets in the flour, shaking off any excess; dip in the lemon-egg mixture, coating both sides. Add the cutlets to the skillet and cook until golden on the bottom, about 2-5 minutes. Add the sage leaves to the skillet, then turn the cutlets and cook until golden on the other side, about another 2-5 minutes (depends on the thickness – you want to make sure the chicken juice runs clear). Transfer the cutlets and sage to a paper towel-lined plate.

Pour out any remaining oil from the skillet. Add the wine and chicken broth and cook over medium-high heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and swirl until melted.

Transfer the chicken to a platter or individual plates. Serve along with the polenta recipe below and dress everyone with the pan sauce. Serve with lemon wedges if desired.

When you start the pan sauce above, also start the polenta recipe below:

  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, grated
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Bring milk and broth to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in cornmeal, reduce heat to low, and simmer until thick, 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Thin with water or more chicken broth if necessary. Off heat, finish with parmesan, oil and salt.

The Ferritto Mush

22 06 2011

Polenta is a native Italian dish, which I have always referred to as a poor man’s pasta because it can be dressed up with sauce and meat for cheap! Polenta, or as my family calls it “Mush”, is boiled cornmeal usually with water or milk. We enjoy throwing “Mush parties” where we make a huge pot of Mush, put out all the goods to dress it up and then let the fam go to town! It’s sure to be a party when the Mush and good wine are flowing around great company!

A traditional Ferritto Mush party includes:

  • Instant Polenta or Corn Meal, simply follow the directions on the package
  • Pieces of cut up pork, seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder and either sautéed or baked
  • Red sauce (we only use homemade, but you can use your favorite jar of sauce)
  • Dried hot and sweet peppers – cooked for a few minutes in a good amount of hot olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Shredded Mozzarella
  • Grated Parmesan
  • Serve everything in a separate bowl so you can dress it how you like it
  • We typically serve mush with a simple salad too – romaine tossed with olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic powder, salt and pepper and of course Italian bread to clean your plate if you’d like!
  • Red or white wine to drink and toast good company!


Mush straight from the pot

Dressed up Mush, just the way I like it with pieces of pork, hot dried peppers with the olive oil drizzled over and mozz and parm cheese 🙂

A Classic Ferritto Mush Party!