Chicken and Polenta Stew
- SERVINGS: 4
Jan Newberry first tasted this comforting cornmeal-enriched stew at the home of an Italian-born friend, Angelo Garro, who's one of the finest cooks she knows. She has added chicken to make the dish a meal, but it's equally delicious without it.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound kale, stems discarded, leaves cut into thin strips
- 8 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- 1 cup yellow polenta (not instant)
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut crosswise into thin strips
- Heat the olive oil in a large enameled cast-iron casserole. Add the onion, garlic, thyme, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring often, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the kale, cover and cook until wilted, about 8 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock to the casserole and bring to a boil over high heat. Gradually add the polenta in a thin steady stream, stirring constantly. Lower the heat to moderate and cook, stirring occasionally, until the polenta thickens, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Stir in the chicken and simmer until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
The kale adds a green note to this thick chicken stew, suggesting a dry white wine with an assertive edge of its ownideally a Pinot Grigio.