Friday, May 7, 2010

Pesto Chicken with Polenta

Pounding chicken with a mallet can be a good thing to do when you are stressed. Pounding chicken with a mallet can be a bad thing to when you are stressed. The difference lies in the amount of stress relative to the size and quantity of chicken breasts. Unfortunately that's a ratio that you'll have to figure out on your own. It's different for everybody. Creamy, buttery, cheesy polenta is super comforting and goes really well with the pesto chicken too. After all that pounding, what's a little stirring?

adapted from a friend's recipe

1 cup basil pesto
4 regular boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 2 if they're large)
1/2 - 1 cup Romano, Asiago or Parmasan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350°. Pound chicken to 3/8" thick (some people put it between two sheets of plastic wrap, but I like to just stick it inside an unsealed zipper bag). Smear half of the pesto on the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan. Arrange chicken in pan and spread the rest of the pesto on top followed by the grated cheese. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

adapted from How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

1 cup dry polenta (corn meal)
4 cups water
1 tsp salt (plus more, to taste)
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup Romano, Asiago or Parmesan cheese, grated
Black pepper

Bring water to a boil and add a tsp of salt. Slowly add the polenta to the boiling water, whisking the whole time. Turn heat to low. Whisk nearly continuously for the first 5 minutes. Cook for 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally using a wood spoon or heat-proof spatula. When polenta is ready (actually, a little before), stir in the butter, cheese and pepper. Taste, and add more salt if needed. Serve immediately.

Try it, you might like it!

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