Piri Piri Chicken with Creamy Cheesy Polenta Mush

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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

Ingredients:

For Chicken:

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)

Method:

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.

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When the effort pays off

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BLACK BEAN SOPA AZTECA (AZTEC SOUP) WITH FRESH SALSA AND FETA CHEESE

I always like Mexican food but I only recently properly attempted to cook it at home. My inspiration to Mexican food was Thomasina Miers and her book. I think it is a very good for someone like me, an amateur with Mexican cuisine.  So slowly, but sturdy, I’m making my way throughout the book, one recipe at a time 🙂

Yesterday (although actually I started the day before with soaking the black beans!) I made Black bean sopa Azteca  following exactly her recipe and it came out an absolute bliss – hearty, silky, vibrant and very comforting and it is partly because I didn’t use the black beans from the tin. I cooked them instead (soaked overnight beforehand) with garlic, onion, thyme, bay leaves for over an hour until they are very tender and aromatic. I am not going to give up the occasional use of tinned beans just yet, but I will never compromise to shortcut when I have a spare time, as it definitely worth it!

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