My poor baby boy had a fever last night.
Usually, this means he cuddles with me on the couch and pops in and out of sleep. He is a true momma’s boy, so Daddy won’t do, and he only wants to sleep on me.
Last night was little different. The munchkin fell asleep in the car, naked except for a diaper and flip-flops. While I hate to see him sick, I was VERY excited that I’d be able to cook dinner without a whining child nipping at my heals.
I love to cook.I love to cook with my kids. I DON’T love rushing to pull together dinner with two hungry kids whining, sticking their hands in my knife’s path and eating all the good stuff off the cutting board before I can put it in the dish.
Peering into my fridge, it quickly became very clear that I had
a) not defrosted anything for dinner
b )needed to make use of some leftovers
c) neglected to buy dinner worthy vegetables this week. (I love my CSA, but have been disappointed with the green veggies provided during this transition of seasons)
What I had to work with: 1 cold grilled chicken breast, a bunch of green onions, 1 bag of pre-sliced crimini mushrooms, a bottle of marsala wine and various salad ingredients.
The solution: a 20 minute Chicken Marsala over creamy polenta. It was possibly one of the most flavorful 20 minute meals on the planet.
Disclaimer: None of the photos in this post were taken by me. The battery in my camera died.
I like polenta because of its versatility. Fresh out of the pot, it is a molten creamy plate of salty deliciousness that pairs well with strong, flavorful dishes. Mixed with the right topping, I could almost compare the texture to a risotto, with WAY less stirring.
The next day, after chilling in a baking dish, it is easy to slice into squares and pan fry or grill. Top these slices with some mozzarella and marinara, or grilled sausage and peppers and onions, for an elegant, quick meal!
The recipe for the Marsala is as follows. I’ve bolded the ingredients. This is written in a 20 minute format. If you follow the flow, you should be able to do everything at once.
You can always make the polenta first if you want, but for me, doing it all at once is the most efficient.
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil.
While the water is boiling, put a medium sized pan over medium high heat and add 1 T of butter and 1/2 T of olive oil.
Let heat up and add about 2 cups of sliced mushrooms to the pan. Allow these to brown and release their juices, stirring regularly.
Turn the heat to medium, and add 3/4 c Marsala wine and shredded chicken.
I had 1 large chicken breast, so I ended up with about a cup and a half.
If I was making the chicken specifically for the dish, I would have used 2 breasts.
Allow wine to boil down by 1/2, stirring occasionally.
While this boils down, you can finish the polenta.
Once the water for the polenta is boiling, add 2 teaspoons salt.
Lower heat to low for water (If using an electric burner, move the pot to a burner that is on low)
Whisk in 1 3/4 cups of yellow corn meal and stir with the whisk until well combined, allow to cook and bubble, stirring every 2 minutes for about 10 more
minutes. My polenta set up much faster than this, so watch it closely. Once your polenta has thickened, whisk in 2 T unsalted butter. I also added a little milk just to make it extra creamy.
At some point while you are cooking the polenta, when the wine has reduced by 1/2, add 1 cup of chicken broth whisked together with 1 T of flour to your mushrooms and chicken. Stir this in and allow to boil and thicken for about 5 more minutes. Add cracked black pepper to taste.
To serve: Portion polenta out on plates, spoon your Chicken Marsala over it, garnish with chopped green onions. Serve with a green salad.
I’d love to tell you I made a salad.
But I didn’t.
I ate this screaming hot in a bowl in front of Game 7 of the NBA Finals while brushing my daughter’s hair, drinking a beer and facebooking from my phone.
IT WAS OUT OF CONTROL DELICIOUS.