Creamed Chicken with Corn and Bacon over Polenta

It’s  been awhile. With Jon traveling to Kentucky last week and me spending the past few days in Kalamazoo, we’ve had little time to cook and little time to blog. Scrolling through my photo library I found a dish I had not yet shared, but it is certainly worthy of some attention. Though it’s a bit labor intensive, I told Jon that it may overtake my two favorite dishes: Brazilian Chicken with Olives and Lamb and Eggplant Shepherds Pie (the latter I realize I have never blogged!). Although simplistic in flavor, this dish is complex in texture. With the tender chicken and creamy polenta, coupled with the savory taste, this recipe gets an ah-mazing rating from us! It’s comfort food at its best.

Creamed Chicken with Corn and Bacon over Polenta

(adapted from epicurious.com)

Ingredients

For creamed chicken

  • 6 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 cups fresh corn or hominy
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large plum tomatoes, seeded and finely diced

For polenta

  • 6 cups water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups instant polenta
  • 1/2 lb Fontina cheese (preferably Italian), diced
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Preparation

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring, until crisp. Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to paper towels, then pour off all but about 1 1/2 tablespoons fat from skillet.

Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Add to skillet with bacon fat and cook over medium high heat, turning several times, until nicely crusted and just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cool. Tear chicken into bite-size pieces.

Prepare corn and sauce while chicken is cooking: Gently simmer corn and milk in a heavy saucepan until corn is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Pour through a sieve into a bowl and reserve corn and milk separately.

Melt butter in same saucepan over moderately low heat. Add flour and cook roux, stirring, 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in cream, then reserved warm milk, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil, whisking, then simmer, whisking, 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, chicken, and corn. Keep warm, covered, over very low heat.

Make polenta: Bring water with salt to a boil. Gradually whisk in polenta and cook over moderately high heat, whisking, 5 minutes. Stir in cheeses.

Divide polenta among 6 shallow bowls. Stir basil into chicken mixture and spoon over polenta. Sprinkle with bacon.

*Warning: The stirring of the polenta may cause fatigue. Overhead, “this polenta is a bitch!”

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