Thursday, October 11, 2012

Roasted Chicken and Brussels Sprouts with Pumpkin Polenta

Fall has officially arrived in Durham! We had a brief glimpse of her a few weeks ago and then it got hot and humid all over again. Now, don't get me wrong, I love hot weather. Love love love. I am definitely a summer, bathing-suit, short-wearing, water-playing kind of girl. But one of the main reasons I love the weather in NC is the change in seasons. By the end of the summer, I am ready for fall. The crisp air, the crunchy leaves and the delicious, comforting food. When I started craving all things pumpkin, I knew that I was ready for the new season. This dinner came about by trying to figure out what to do with the random items I'd purchased at the store and the desire to satisfy my fall, comfort food cravings. And it definitely did the trick. The flavors meld together to taste a lot like a Thanksgiving meal but without the hours of work.
I recommend getting a jar of Herbes de Provence for your spice rack. One little jar includes a rich, aromatic blend of herbs, including thyme, basil and lavender. A good sprinkling of the blend can lend a ton of flavor to a dish without needing to buy a lot of individual herbs and spices. I also recommend keeping some canned pumpkin on hand this time of year. Make sure it is plain canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling as that's a whole different animal. You can easily stir some canned pumpkin into risotto, quinoa, or polenta to make a simple side into something perfect for the season.

Roasted Chicken and Brussels Sprouts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 package boneless skinless chicken thighs, about 1 - 1.3 lbs
  • 1 bunch Brussels sprouts
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large, oven proof dish (I use my dutch oven), heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat.
Season the top side of the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
When the pan is very hot - the oil should shimmer and move easily around the pan - add the chicken, seasoned side down.
Let the chicken cook without moving them for about 8-10 minutes. This will give them that nice golden color and the meat will tear if you try to move them before they're ready.
Season the underside of the thighs and then remove them from the pan to standby.
While the chicken is browning, wash the Brussels sprouts and trim off the ends. I usually cut them in half unless they are very small or even into quarters if they're very large.
After removing the chicken, turn the heat down a bit and add the sprouts and garlic to the pan.
Season with a bit more salt and pepper and add the Herbes de Provence.
Saute for a couple of minutes and then add the chicken stock.
Stir to get all of the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
Add the chicken back into the pan, brown side up.
Place the pan into the oven and roast for about 20 minutes, until the Brussels sprouts are tender and the chicken is cooked through.
Serve over pumpkin polenta.

Pumpkin Polenta
  • 3 cups of liquid (milk, stock, water or a combination)
  • 1/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2-3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
Bring the liquid to a low boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Be careful if you're using milk as it will quickly boil over and make a big mess. I usually remove the lid when it starts to simmer.
Turn the heat down to low.
Slowly pour in the polenta and stir to combine, breaking up any lumps. Season with a pinch of salt.
Once the polenta is combined, stir in the pumpkin. I use a metal whisk to break up any lumps and make a creamy polenta.
Continue stirring until the polenta thickens and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Remove from the heat, add butter and Parmesan cheese.
Stir to combine, and let sit, covered for a minute or so.

For a printable recipe click here

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