chicken and mushrooms with polenta

I guess I'm not over my polenta phase, although I am nearly out of milled corn. The thing is, what made the shrimp and scallops be so incredible can be done with chicken or any other protein too.


I just now read McGee's section on corn and now I'm completely obnoxiously knowledgeable about all aspects of corn -- I can hardly stand myself. I learned words like nixtamalization (Aztec) -- tamal, get it? -- as well as chemical words like amylose, hemicellulose, and less important ones like anthocyanins, aleurone, acetylpyrroline, aminoacetrophenone. I learned how popcorn pops, about mud fermented corn, dry and wet milling, and alkaline treatments. I learned from McGee the history of it and what other countries call it and most importantly I learned about the different types and what they're used for. I also learned when Europeans turn up their nose at corn, they don't know what they're talking about. I'm going to be impossible if I don't watch it.

* Fogs fingernails with breath, buffs nails on shirt *

I betchya I could mill my own corn for polenta and that way have the flavor of the husk and the endosperm without any loss due to marketing. Dent corn, if I ever see it.

raw cubed chicken

chicken dusted

chicken seared

grated Romano

chicke polenta plated

Overview: A pot and a pan and a couple dishes get messed doing this. Polenta and chicken with sauce are cooked concurrently, first the chicken, then the sauce in the same pan. Flour is fiercely seasoned and used both to dust the chicken and to make the sauce. The polenta is flavored with your favorite cheese, or whatever you have that you want to get rid of use.

Corn meal cooked in chicken broth. The can of chicken broth says 14oz., nearly two cups. I've learned through experimentation that cooks 1/2 cup corn meal. Grated a large nick of Romano and reserved it to add at the very end.

A chicken breast was thawed and cubed. A half cup of flour in a bowl along with a heavy dose of garlic powder, cayenne powder, Madrass curry, and chile flakes.

I made the chile flakes myself by breaking open a whole bag of arbol (tree) chiles and real dried chipotle chile, emptied out the seeds, ground in a coffee mill to desired flake size, and mixed together. That'll be the house blend of chile flakes for about six months of heavy use. It replaces straight up habanero flakes, and it's actually quite good.

The chicken pieces were lightly dusted then briefly sautéed in canola and butter, but only to the point of browning, no more, then set aside. At that point, the pan had become something of a useful mess, filled with bits of burned and brown flour. Diced onions and sliced mushrooms followed in the same uncleaned pan picking up the bits as they released their liquid. More butter was added followed with more of the seasoned flour that was used to dust the chicken, and all that continued to brown until the mushrooms and the flour was cooked through as a rough crumbly roux and the raw flour taste was gone. Then emptied a remnant bottle of white wine to deglaze the pan and initiate the sauce and finished with more chicken broth to desired viscosity. Tested for flavor, mostly salt/pepper. Added the cooked chicken sitting in reserve to the onion/mushroom gravy mixture. Then dumped the pile of Romano into the warmed and finished polenta. Nicked a branch of balcony basil.

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