Chicken with Fresh Corn, Tomatoes and Creamy Polenta

Chicken with Fresh Corn, Tomatoes and Creamy Polenta | Cookie Monster Cooking

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.

Chicken with Fresh Corn, Tomatoes and Creamy Polenta | Cookie Monster Cooking

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.

Chicken with Fresh Corn, Tomatoes and Creamy Polenta | Cookie Monster Cooking

Comforting summer food in a bowl?  I’ll take it.

Chicken with Fresh Corn, Tomatoes and Creamy Polenta
Yield: about 4 servings
For the polenta:
  • 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
For the chicken:
  • 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.


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  1. says

    Ashley you read my mind on this one! I’ve been dying for a good polenta recipe, one that’s comforting but also nice for the summer. :) This looks fantastic! And glad to hear you are finally all moved in – you can finally put all that stress behind you.

  2. FBrown says

    This chicken with creamy polenta looks delish! I will try it! I was stressed also when taking the NC driver’s test and for good reason~ it’s not easy! Glad you’re settling in!

    • Ashley @ Cookie Monster Cooking says

      Thank you! Such a pain – I had no idea that certain states made you take it! I didn’t have to take it when we moved to Virginia!

  3. says

    I agree with you –moving is a pain but moving to another state and having to take a written driver’s exam and a job interview? You hit the trifecta! At least that’s all over with and you have this scrumptious meal to enjoy. I love the sound of this… fresh corn, tomatoes and polenta…. delicious! Summer in a bowl –beautiful! :)

  4. says

    I’ve never been a big fan of creamy polenta but your pictures are making me think I have to give it another try. Especially with the added goodness of corn, tomatoes and chicken…mmmm….

  5. says

    AH – SO making this next week for dinner. What a great weeknight meal. And the pictures are stunning, Ashley – the lighting in this spot is amazing.

    I secretly have a profound fear that when I come back to the U.S. I’m going to have to take the written driver’s test wherever I move. I failed it in high school, but now with 15 years of driving under my belt, it would be horrible to fail it!

    • Ashley @ Cookie Monster Cooking says

      Aw, thanks Jess! Way better lighting in our new place for pictures : ) lol See that’s how I felt – it’s one thing in driver’s ed if you fail it but now? After driving for a long time? Eek!

  6. says

    Welcome to NC and congratulations on getting 100 on your driving test! :) I grew up in North Carolina and live in South Carolina now, but just a few miles south of the border.
    Your chicken dish looks amazing and I love the blue plate and your food styling.

  7. says

    When we moved into our current house almost 18 years ago, I told everyone that this was it, my final move. No more. Ever. Done. Each time we moved it got more and more complicated (SC to MO to IL to MO to NJ to MO). More possessions. Kid. Then kids plural. I even said they could eventually bury me in the backyard because I wasn’t going to move anywhere else again. (That part wasn’t appreciated.) I DO understand your being done with the moving experience! Now you can get on with the fun part of getting settled and exploring your new home. :) Good luck with the job search!
    I love dinner in a bowl! This polenta dish is so full of flavors and colors it would brighten anyone’s day!

    • Ashley @ Cookie Monster Cooking says

      Thank you Wendy : ) Oh man, I can’t even imagine how much more complicated it is with kids!

  8. says

    Aaw I hate moving too, hopefully you get all settled in soon and good luck with your job interview :) Way to go on acing the written driver’s test though! I think I would be seriously stressed out too since I don’t remember a thing about fines or points.
    This creamy polenta looks wonderful and sounds like the perfect comforting meal to calm down any nerves. I love the fresh corn and summery flavors in this – sounds fantastic! :)

    • Ashley @ Cookie Monster Cooking says

      Thanks Kelly : ) I think my husband thought I was a little crazy for being so stressed over it!

  9. says

    Moving definitely stinks! I remember when we moved into our place. It’s not fun and it’s sooo much work! I hope things settle down for you soon.

    Yay…polenta! I’ve been making your breakfast polenta a lot, so now I’m excited to try a more savory dish. It sounds amazing!

    • Ashley @ Cookie Monster Cooking says

      Thanks Holly! I’ve been making that one a lot too lately – I can’t get enough of the stuff!

  10. says

    You know, I handle things the same way you do. I stress over things because I want to do well when I do things, which equates to me being just as you say…a crazy lady. I would HATE taking a driver’s test! Interviewing for a job is stressful enough. This bowl of spiced up comfort food looks amazing! I need to make myself some polenta. What the heck am I waiting for??

    • Ashley @ Cookie Monster Cooking says

      No, thankfully no actual driving test : ) Just a written test and then a road sign test!

  11. says

    Drivers tests are definitely a stressful experience….let’s just say I’ve done it more than once! Good luck with the job interview too. I like this savoury version of polenta, I still have to try your breakfast one but I finally bought the cornmeal so it’s coming about soon! :)

    • Ashley @ Cookie Monster Cooking says

      They are! I can do the actual driving questions … but when they get into which offense has the most points? Not a fan.

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