Friday, September 18, 2009

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken Breast over Creamy Polenta

Oh wow, this was soooo yummy! My friend (thanks Kelly Martin) recommended this recipe to me and I am so glad she did! It comes from Robert Irvine with the Food Network. The pesto makes the chicken very flavorful and the polenta...mmm, mmm good! I've always loved polenta, but had never made it before. Oh my goodness, it is so simple to make! It's actually easier than making mashed potatoes because you don't have to peel potatoes! This polenta was soooo creamy and delicious...I couldn't get enough of it. I used smoked gouda cheese instead of the cheddar so it had a nice, smoky flavor to it. I omitted the scallions because we aren't big fans of scallions. For the chicken, I used boneless, skinless breasts. While they were fine enough, the next time I make this I will definitely do as the recipe suggests and use chicken with the bone and skin so that it will be more tender and juicy. Alright, so, if you want to impress someone with your culinary skills, make this recipe!!!

What You'll Need:

(For the Chicken)
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes from a jar
2 garlic cloves, quartered
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 (6-ounce) chicken breasts, with wing bone, skin on

(For the creamy polenta)
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup freshly shredded Cheddar
3 tablespoons chopped scallions
Freshly ground black pepper

What You'll Do:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
For the pesto crust:
Blend sun-dried tomatoes, garlic cloves and basil leaves in a food processor. Stir in Parmesan and add salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside briefly. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season chicken breast with pepper only. (The Parmesan in the pesto will provide salt.) Brown both sides of chicken, beginning with skin side first. Coat chicken with pesto and roast in oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until fork tender.
For the polenta:
Combine chicken stock and cream in a large heavy saucepan. Heat to a gentle boil over medium heat, being careful not to burn. While whisking constantly, gradually add the cornmeal in a thin stream. Once cornmeal is incorporated, keep heat low and continue to whisk until mixture is slightly thickened and creamy. Stir in butter and Cheddar and allow cheese to melt. Season with pepper, (and salt if needed). Spoon polenta onto serving plate, top with chicken breast and garnish with chopped scallions.