Braised Chicken & Polenta

boston weather

It’s very cold again here in Boston.  And rainy.  And it might actually snow a little bit tomorrow.  Not the stuff that dreams are made of . . . no no no.  These antics definitely throw a body off food-wise.  I mean, not too many days ago it was close to 90 degrees here!?  What to do?  While you may not feel like heading for the salad bar in times like these, try moderating your cravings for rich food with more vegetables and fruits.  I made this easy braise the other night and D. and I both loved it.  It’s comfort-food, but not too heavy.  Perfect for the wackadoo springtime weather in New England.

Braised Chicken & Polenta (adapted from Everyday Food Magazine)

1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 t. dried oregano
¾ c. dry white wine or vermouth
6 c. low-sodium chicken broth, divided
16 oz. frozen cut green beans (no need to defrost beforehand)
Juice of ½ lemon
¾ c. yellow cornmeal
2 T. unsalted butter


In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown it on both sides, approximately 5 minutes per side.  Transfer to a plate.  Add the garlic, tomatoes and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the wine/vermouth and cook until almost evaporated, another minute.  Stir the beans into the mix for 2-3 minutes to let them thaw.  Add 1.5 c. of the broth and return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pot.  Bring the mixture to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer.  Cook an additional 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the beans are tender.  Season with salt and pepper and squeeze in the lemon juice.

Meanwhile, for the polenta, combine 4 ½ c. of broth, 1 ½ t. of kosher salt, and ¼ t. of pepper and bring to a boil.  Add the cornmeal as you constantly whisk the broth.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, whisking frequently, until the polenta has thickened, approximately 20 minutes.  Whisk in the butter.

Serve the chicken and veggies over the polenta in large bowls.

Serves 4.

A note:  Did you know that you can substitute vermouth for white wine in most any recipe?  I can’t remember where I learned this years ago – but it has revolutionized my life.  We don’t drink a lot of white wine here, so it’s rarely around.  So who wants to use a little bit of a bottle and have it go to waste?  Vermouth’ll keep forever in your cupboard so you’ll always have it on-hand for recipes like this one.

Happy weekend, everyone – I hope the weather is better where you are!