Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Other Chicken

The chicken breast gets all the glory.

But, I urge all my culinary cohorts to give the thigh a try.

This dish, Rosemary Grilled Chicken Thighs and Wild Mushroom Sauce, is a fabulous showcase for the thigh. Even The Husband grooved on it, and mushrooms aren’t exactly his thang.

Neither is mayo.

Or broccoli.

Or fennel.

If my baby comes out a picky eater, The Husband is getting ALL the blame.

Just kidding, Husband. Calm down.

In reality, if there is some crazy exotic item popping out on a menu, The Husband is first in line to give it a try. Crocodile. Cactus. Shark. Rattlesnake.

But, he won’t eat a peach.

So this week, I need to cook some of The Husband’s favs to give him major thanks for all his hard work during our home-improvement marathon.

And I must send major props to my Moms, who has been painting like a madwoman in preparation for the bambino. What started as a two-room paint job has now morphed into a two bathroom, two bedroom and laundry room painting extravaganza.

It has also involved four trips to Home Depot in three days. (As if I new the color Calming Retreat would appear pink once applied to the wall?)

Meanwhile, I’ve been compulsively cleaning out every closet, drawer, nook and cranny, which then prompts me to collapse on the couch and watch “General Hospital” or fall into a siesta, whichever comes first.

But onto the recipe. This one is from Rachael Ray. I am listing it below and providing the link on the Food Network Web site. And I’d like to note that I omitted the dried porcini mushroom portion of the dish in an effort to not give The Husband a shroom overdose.

I served the chicken with some awesome polenta that I whipped up. The sauce went really well with it. So, I will provide you with my formula for awesome mac daddy polenta as well.

Rosemary Grilled Chicken Thighs and Wild Mushroom Sauce
By Rachael Ray
Makes four servings

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Coarse salt and black pepper
3 stems fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1-ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 pound, 4 slices, pancetta, chopped, available at your deli counter or 3 slices bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large shallot, chopped
2 portobello mushroom caps, halved and thinly sliced
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup dry red wine

Heat a grill pan over high heat. Drizzle chicken thighs with oil, season with salt, pepper and rosemary. Grill chicken 5 minutes on each side and remove from heat to rest for 5 minutes.

Place stock in a small bowl and cover. Heat in microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove stock from microwave with oven mitt. Add dried porcini to the dish and replace the cover. Steep porcinis in stock 5 to 10 minutes to reconstitute mushrooms. This may also be done on the stovetop. Simmer broth, and mushrooms for 10 minutes over low heat.

In a medium skillet, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, saute pancetta, crushed garlic and chopped shallot over medium heat for 3 minutes, to crisp pancetta at edges. Add sliced portobello mushrooms to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Saute mushrooms 10 minutes, or until dark and tender. Add flour and cook 1 minute. Add red wine to the pan and reduce by 1/2, about 1 minute. Add reserved stock and porcini mushrooms to the pan and simmer together 1 to 2 minutes longer to combine.

Slice chicken thighs and fan out on a plate. Ladle thick mushroom sauce down over sliced chicken and serve.

Please note: The Jersey Girl omitted the dried porcini mushrooms and just added beef stock. She also did not slice the chicken upon serving.

Mac Daddy Polenta
Makes 4-5 servings

4 cups water, plus a few cups more simmering in a tea kettle or pot
1 tsp. salt
1 cup polenta aka yellow cornmeal
2 Tbsp. butter
¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a wide saucepan. Add salt.

Slowly stir or whisk in cornmeal. Lower the heat to medium-low, making sure to keep a slight simmer on the mixture. Stir continuously.

As the polenta thickens up, add some of the reserved hot water in the tea kettle, about a ¼ cup at a time. Cook polenta until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off heat. Stir in butter and parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

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