If you are not familiar with the polenta mush yet, you need to be. Let me introduce you to it now.
Polenta originated in Northern Italy as a peasant food at first, but I am very glad now that it finally gained world wide recognition and rapidly became popular. Yellow polenta is such a versatile ingredient, is often served as a soft, thick mush, which may be topped with sauce, a hearty ragout, or cheese. Cooked polenta can also be cooled until firm and cut into wedges, rounds, or other shapes, which can be baked, grilled, or pan-fried and also used in sweet bakes and desserts. But, today, I’d like to share the recipe of the perfect side dish or as an alternative to potato mush.
The only thing I have to warn you, polenta without the seasoning can be very plain and tasteless, therefore, make sure you season it well. Season, taste it and then… season a bit more.
I like to cook polenta in a chicken stock (or in its absence, a chicken stock in cubes is just as handy), adding the butter and the cheese (this time instead of Parmesan I used Cheddar) for extra creaminess. It takes no more then 15 minutes to prepare and it’s so comforting and absolutely delicious.
PIRI PIRI CHICKEN WITH CREAMY CHEESY POLENTA MUSH
4 skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons Piri Piri seasoning mix
pinch of salt
olive oil for frying
For Polenta Mush:
2 cups (450 ml) chicken stock
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
1 cup (225 ml) milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup (250 g) coarse yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup (100 g) grated cheddar cheese
Plus: any green vegetable to serve (I used broccoli)
1. Start with preparing the chicken by placing it on a large sheet of greaseproof paper, toss it with the salt and Piri Piri seasoning mix. Fold over the paper, then bash and flatten the chicken with a rolling pin. Place the chicken on a hot frying pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, turning after 5-6 minutes, until golden and completely cooked through.
2. Meanwhile chicken is cooking, make a mush. Heat the stock, water and milk to a low simmer in a medium saucepan. Generously season with salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal (I like to use a hand whisk for that) making sure there are no lumps. Stir regularly until the polenta is very thick and creamy, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in grated cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Cover with the lid and let it ‘rest’ for about 10 more minute. Ten, serve it when you are ready.