Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Garlic and Bacon Chicken over Cheesy Polenta with Broccoli - Gourmet in under 30 minutes!!

Well hello again!

Yes, I know it has been far far too long since my last post.

About a million and a half things have happened though. Let's see...

It starts with getting a full time job and subsequently getting promoted a few weeks later into a position I love but that takes up a lot of the free time I used to have. It goes on to getting a female Decker Rat Terrier puppy that my fiance named Sweetpea. 6 months after that, we got a second puppy, same breed, that I named Jax. They are both the best dogs one could hope for. I only have a small handful of "terrible puppy" stories. Both have been great.

Then after getting two dogs, we decided we were done with apartment living and found the most amazing house to rent.

 Sweetpea and Jax

 JAX: AKA "Little Man"- He likes the mud!
Sweetpea watching the trees for squirrels 
The new house!! 



Okay. There are my five excuses for not posting. I apologize, and I will strive to do better.

That being said, let's get to the food.


Now this recipe is pretty much the easiest and best tasting thing you will ever eat. It relies on a couple giant shortcuts. When it tastes as good as it does, you won't know the difference. I used to make this dish from scratch. It was inspired by one of my favorite restaurants in Claremont, CA named Union on Yale. I'd eat there everyday if I could- but that would be expensive (although far less expensive than what you'd expect to pay for such high quality food).

First thing's first; here's the base ingredients (yes that's right, a rotisserie chicken- don't hate!):



I use some other things to jazz it up, but it's pretty personalizeable from here on.

Start out by adding your polenta to a small sauce pan. Yes, I found the most amazing frozen ingredient that has probably ever been made. Thank you Trader Joes for making the poleta FOR me. I am forever in your debt. If you don't have a local Trader Joes, all is not lost. It WILL take longer than 30 minutes though. Look HERE for a good polenta recipe and note that you may not need to add milk or Parmesan like I do.


In a medium saute or frying pan, fry your bacon (Note: I only made one serving so you'll have to double or quadruple the recipe as needed).

Remove from heat when crispy, add chopped garlic. You can cook it just until it's slightly golden brown or you can cook it longer to add crispiness (just my personal preference for this dish).

Remove garlic, add some slices of chicken, just to heat through (this can alternatively be done in the microwave, but I like the taste it adds by heating it in the bacon grease.

At this point, check your polenta and stir until texture is creamy. I add milk and Parmesan to heighten the taste a bit. It doesn't need a lot. I just add enough milk to get a creamy texture without adding so much that it gets watery. Then I throw a palmful of grated parmesan and stir until it looks and smells amazing.




Optional: Add broccoli or brussels sprouts to the saute pan. let it soak up any residual bacon grease. Remove when just cooked through (I used frozen broccoli that I steamed in the microwave until no longer frozen and then cooked until done in the pan).

Now just get a plate or two and pile it on- polenta first, followed by bacon and garlic, and then the chicken and broccoli or brussels sprouts.







That's it. Do this when you have people over. They will come back and probably often. Unless you don't like them. In that case, do not feed them this dish under any circumstances ;)

The actual Recipe?? Well, since I usually eye it, I'll do my best.

Garlic and Bacon Chicken over Cheesy Polenta with Broccoli

Time:      30 minutes or less (with shortcuts)
Servings: 1 or 2 (depending on if you have sides or not)

Ingredients:
- Leg and thigh from a rotisserie chicken
- 1-2 slices bacon or thick Pancetta (I prefer the taste of Pancetta but not the price)
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- Trader Joe's Creamy Polenta (or other prepared polenta- see above for link)

Optional:
- Milk to taste
- 3-4 TBSP Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup broccoli or Brussels Sprouts

Directions:
1. Add your frozen polenta to a small sauce pan and follow directions on back of bag to heat through.
2. In a medium saute or frying pan, fry your bacon.
3. Remove from heat when crispy, add chopped garlic. You can cook it just until it's slightly golden brown or you can cook it longer to add crispiness.
3. Remove garlic, add chicken, just to heat through (this can alternatively be done in the microwave, but I like the taste it adds by heating it in the bacon grease.)
4. Check your polenta and stir until texture is creamy. Add optional (although highly reccomended) milk and Parmesan. Continue to stir until cheese is melted and fully blended.
5. Take your chicken off the heat.
6. Add broccoli or brussels sprouts to pan and heat until just cooked through.
7. Pile it on a plate- polenta first, followed by bacon and garlic, and then the chicken and broccoli or Brussels sprouts.


I usually have about 80% of these ingredients already in my fridge. I regularly buy a pack of bacon and freeze it just so I can use one or two slices at a time.

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