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Chicken with Herbed Polenta

(recipe, Kelly Myers)

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Inspiration for this recipe comes from Kevin McGovney, who likes to add fresh herbs and lemon juice to his polenta. Use any combination of Italian parsley, chervil, chives, tarragon, basil, thyme, and rosemary, using more of the milder herbs (parsley, chervil) and a conservative amount of the assertive ones (tarragon, rosemary).


  1. 1 cup polenta
  2. 4 cups water
  3. ¼ tsp. salt
  4. 2 Tbsp. butter
  5. ¼ cup minced fresh herbs (see Introduction)
  6. 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  7. 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  8. Salt and pepper
  9. 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  10. 3 fresh bay leaves or 4 dried leaves
  11. 1 large clove garlic, minced
  12. ⅓ cup white wine
  13. ½ cup mascarpone or sour cream, room temperature
  14. 4 Tbsp. grated Parmesan


  1. Bring water to a boil and whisk in polenta in a thin stream. Add salt. Turn heat down to a simmer and cook for one hour. Every 10 minutes, vigorously stir the polenta for one minute. Polenta is done when it is soft and creamy. To finish it, stir in the butter, herbs, and lemon juice and adjust seasoning to taste. Hold over low heat.
  2. Meanwhile, lay out chicken thighs on a plate, pat dry with paper towels, and sprinkle on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a 14-inch skillet to medium high. Add olive oil, then chicken and bay leaves. Cook chicken on one side about 4 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn and cook on other side until almost cooked through. Turn heat down if necessary to prevent scorching.
  3. When the chicken is nearly done, turn heat to medium low, add garlic, and sauté until golden. Add white wine and scrape up the brown bits off the bottom of the skillet, turning the chicken pieces over in the sauce as you go. Reduce the wine until it is almost syrupy.
  4. To serve: Top polenta with dollops of mascarpone and Parmesan and spoon any remaining pan juices over the chicken.