Last week was completely crazy. I’m just going to go ahead and put it out there that I have no desire to ever move again. Fine if we need to move within the same general area, but to another state? No thank you. Especially after being forced to study for the written driver’s test which I haven’t thought about since high school. What’s up with that North Carolina?
Let me tell you how much I enjoyed memorizing fines and points on your license. But at least that’s done now and my husband doesn’t have to deal with me stressing out over it anymore. Yes, I’m the total nervous crazy lady who studied like a maniac because she didn’t want to be horribly embarrassed if she failed the silly test. Who got every single question correct? This girl. Yeah, I’m a little bit neurotic.
So, last week. Crazy. On top of the driver’s test, I also had a job interview. Which I’m sure you can probably guess that I also studied / prepared for like a maniac. I should probably chill out when it comes to this stuff. But that will never happen. Who are we kidding.
This dinner was exactly what I needed after last week. It’s light and summery but also somehow comforting. It is full of this awesome smoky, little bit spicy type flavor – from the chipotle pepper, smoked paprika and red pepper flakes. You also get all the wonderful freshness of the corn, tomatoes and basil. And then heap it on top of creamy polenta. Which I’m still completely obsessed with.
Comforting summer food in a bowl? I’ll take it.
- 2 ½ cups milk
- 2 cups water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup coarse polenta (not instant or quick cooking)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and halved
- 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- pinch red pepper flakes, or more to taste
- 3 ears of corn, kernels removed (about 2 cups)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
- ¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
- To make the polenta - add the milk, water and salt to a medium saucepan. Set the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a low simmer. Slowly pour in the polenta, whisking constantly the entire time. Turn the heat down to low and partially cover with a lid. Cook for about 25 to 30 minutes, whisking every few minutes to get out any lumps (be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan). You want the polenta to thicken and have a creamy consistency. If it starts getting too thick, you can add in a little more milk (a tablespoon or so at a time). Remove the pan from the heat and add in the butter and parmesan. Whisk until combined.
- Meanwhile, sprinkle the chicken breast halves with 1 teaspoon of the smoked paprika, the cumin and salt/pepper to taste. Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When hot, add the chicken and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes per side (depending on thickness), until browned and cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with aluminum foil; set aside.
- With the same skillet still set over medium heat, add in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. When hot, add in the red onion, chipotle pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook until the onion starts to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes. Next, add in the corn and cook for about 3 minutes, until it starts to soften. Add in the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the remaining ½ teaspoon paprika and the chicken broth. Cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add in the basil. Season with additional salt/pepper to taste if needed.
- To serve, if desired, slice the chicken. Ladle the polenta into bowls. Top with a scoop of the corn/tomato mixture and finally with several slices of chicken.
Polenta adapted from my strawberries and cream breakfast polenta. Chicken adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Fresh & Fast.