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hearty chicken

With Thanksgiving only a few days away, I was thinking that this might be a nontraditional but lovely way to serve a small turkey for a party of two or four. Mind you, I would not be able to bring myself to do it, I need my traditional roast turkey, but for a very savoir-faire sort of hostess.

Otherwise, it’s just a perfect winter heartwarming and hearty dish to serve at a dinner party or to your family on a special night.

When a recipe calls for a whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces, the eight pieces consist of the 2 wings, 2 legs, 2 thighs, and the breast that is cut in half to make two pieces. The back is not used but is the perfect piece of chicken to use to make chicken broth.

To cut a chicken into pieces, you begin with either the wing or the leg and move it around until you locate the joint.

Cut through the skin and through the joint, which the knife slides through quite easily. If there is a lot of resistance, you’ve hit the bone, so move the knife to one side or the other until you located the joint. Easy, once you get the hang of it.

Finally, if it looks like I have a ton of chicken and a double amount of polenta in the photos below – it’s because I do. This was the main dish I taught at my first class in the three-week series at Les Gourmettes last Wednesday night. Obviously, the recipe is easily doubled or tripled.

Rosemary Chicken with Olives and Oranges
over Herbed Polenta

Herbed Polenta
1/4 stick unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon each; minced fresh rosemary, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
Flour, olive oil, and butter, for frying
Chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 1/2 to 5-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3 large shallots, peeled and sliced (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
1 cup Sherry
1 cup chicken broth
1 orange, halved, each half cut into 5 wedges
1/3 cup brine-cured green olives
1 tablespoon honey

Herbed Polenta:  Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper. Sauté 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. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan. Pour into an 8 X 8-inch pan and refrigerate until firm and cold.

Cut the chilled polenta into 4 squares. Make a diagonal cut through each one. Dust each triangle with flour. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Cook the polenta triangles for 3-5 minutes or until browned on each side.

Chicken:  Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to skillet; cook until skin is crisp and browned, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate.

Reduce heat to medium-high. Drain all but 2 tablespoons drippings from skillet. Add shallots; stir until soft and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary; stir 30 seconds. Add Sherry; boil until reduced by half, scraping up browned bits, about 3 minutes. Add chicken broth; bring to boil. Return chicken, skin side up, to skillet. Place orange wedges and olives among chicken pieces. Transfer to oven and braise uncovered until chicken is cooked through about 20 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a platter, and tent with foil to keep warm. Bring sauce to boil over high heat. Stir in honey; boil until thickened, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce, oranges, and olives over the chicken and serve atop the hot polenta triangles.

Sprinkle the rim of the plate with Tomato Dust, if you’ve made it and so desire.

Serves 4


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1 comment

1 Marissa { 11.19.12 at 11:16 AM }

Sounds delish! But I agree – I would be very sad if we didn’t have our traditional turkey 🙂

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