Well dear readers, tonight I arrived home after 8pm, hungry and tired, with a similarly minded person who just wanted to eat dinner (that's my way of explaining why there aren't many pictures tonight. There is still a recipe for you, so I think that's perfectly good for an average Monday night).
This is an old standard of mine that I played with a bit tonight, because we didn't have a lot of the normal ingredients that I would use to make it. But it was still good!
Chicken 'n Tomatoes over cheesy polenta (the 'n proves how down-homey I am. Or just tired)
3 cups chicken stock (or veggie/beef stock or water - tonight I used half beef stock and half water, because that's what was in my fridge)
1 cup cornmeal (or instant polenta. I was out of that too)
about 1/2 cup of cheese (I used fat free mozzarella again, but I used to use a mix of mascarpone and Parmesan, back before I was watching my weight.......oh that was good)
1 pound or so thin cut chicken (I like those thin sliced ones from Perdue - but we had chicken "tenders" and that's what I used)
Red pepper flakes
1 onion (I usually use red in this recipe, but I only had yellow. Are you sensing a theme?)
at least 3 cloves of garlic
Tomatoes (usually cherry tomatoes, but I only had whole peeled canned ones, so I just chopped them up a bit)
1 cup deglazing liquid (usually chicken stock, but I used a secret kind tonight - I'll get to that later)
Fresh Basil (if your boyfriend doesn't have a weird aversion to fresh herbs like mine does)
1. Put 3 cups stock/water in a pot over high heat. (go to the next step while you wait for it to boil) When it boils, mix in 1 cup of cornmeal, a little bit at a time. I like to measure it out by 1/4 cup and shake it in. Whisk it really fast. Nobody likes lumps in polenta. If you want to see a nice picture of me cooking polenta, click here. Once it's all whisked up good, turn the heat way down and let it sit, but stir it sometimes to make sure it doesn't burn.
2. Put a pan over medium heat and add some olive oil. Chop up your onion and garlic and throw it in the pan to let soften.
3. Season your chicken with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (if you're a wimp, don't add too many. But if you're cool like me, throw on a bunch!).
4. Push the onions and garlic over to one side of the pan and turn up the heat a little. Add your chicken to the pan and let it brown on both sides.
5. Your polenta is probably done by now. Make sure you didn't burn it, then add some salt and pepper to taste and stir in your cheese. Oh cheese-y goodness. Love it. Turn off the heat and cover the pot so it stays warm.
6. Once your chicken has brown, add your deglazing liquid! Tonight I was out of chicken stock (which is why I used beef stock in the polenta) and the only wine I had was probably vinegar at this point, so I threw that out, opened up a bottle of beer, poured in half and gave the other half to Miriam to drink. For anyone who is wondering, deglazing is when you pour in a liquid (usually alcohol) and scrape up the brown bits at the bottom of the pan and let the liquid reduce and taste yummy. It rocks.
7. Once your liquid has reduced by about half, add your tomatoes (add them whole if they're cherry tomatoes and chopped if otherwise). Let them get hot and break up a little. If they're cherry tomatoes, they should start to burst. Otherwise, your guess is as good as mine.
That's it! Put some polenta in a bowl, throw the chicken and tomatoes (get some liquid in there too, that's good stuff) and rip up some fresh basil to put on top if you're into that kind of thing. This dish is great for leftovers at work the next day. Everyone will smell it and be jealous and say "something smells good," and you can say "of course it is. I made it!"