Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mediterranean Chicken Stew on Polenta

We were very pleased with the results of this Mediterranean chicken stew. First of all, its flavors are very reminiscent of the Mediterranean with the sultry black olives and tomato bits briefly stewed with the chickpeas and chicken. Second, the appearance of the dish really has a wow factor when you strew the chicken and vegetables across the rich creamy polenta. The most surprising of all is that it was so easy to make the polenta in the oven. It just baked away happily in the oven while the stew went together on top of the stove. Best of all, this dish comes together in thirty minutes.

If you aren’t a fan of chickpeas (that would include my husband), by all means use cannellini beans. I can see shrimp in this stew, briefly sautéed and added at the last minute in place of the chicken. Most any fresh herb would suffice. We chose fresh oregano because we have it spilling over in abundance in our herb garden. Feel free to use marjoram, thyme, or basil. A brief word about fresh oregano – every time we’ve planted it, it has thrived and taken over sections of the herb garden. In the spring it has pretty delicate pink blossoms. It is a perennial that keeps on giving and will reward you for years to come. But don’t say I didn’t warn you about it taking over.

Mediterranean Chicken Stew over Polenta
Adapted from Great Food Fast by Martha Stewart

1 ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves, cut into ¾” chunks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas or cannelloni beans, drained & rinsed well
4 – 5 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded, & cut into ½” pieces yielding 2 cups
3 tablespoons pitted kalamata olives, cut in half
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar or other white wine vinegar
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
Polenta for serving, recipe below

Season chicken with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce the heat in the skillet to medium-low. Add remaining teaspoon of oil to the skillet. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds, taking care not to let the garlic burn. Add the drained beans and 1 cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cook over medium heat until starting to break down, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the olives, vinegar, and cooked chicken along with any accumulated juices to the pan. Toss until warmed through, about 1 minute. Stir in chopped parsley. Serve over polenta, recipe below.

Printable recipe (including polenta)

Oven Baked Polenta
Adapted from Great Food Fast by Martha Stewart

¾ cup cornmeal, we used yellow
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups water
¼ cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or marjoram

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In an ovenproof saucepan or (ovenproof casserole) with a lid, whisk together the cornmeal, salt, pepper & water. (If you mix the ingredients together before the oven is heated to temperature, whisk them together again at the last minute.) Cover and bake 30 minutes, stirring half way through. Remove from oven, whisk in milk, butter, and oregano until smooth. Serve immediately.

Printable recipe for polenta

This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, Wind' Down Wednesday at Dizzy, Busy & Hungry, Seasonal Sunday at the Tablescaper & Food on Friday at Carole's Chatter.  
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Have a great weekend everyone.


  1. I've never cooked polenta in the oven, Sam. Will try that soon. We love it served just about any way, but as a base for your stew, it's perfect and so much more interesting than mashed potatoes. Better for you too. I have to be careful with chickpeas as my younger son doesn't like them, but my daughter and I love them. Thanks for the tip about cannelloni beans
    Such a pretty dish! Love the olives in there.

  2. The only way I have made polenta is to pan fry it but I am more than ready to move over to soft polenta.

  3. We really enjoy Mediterranean flavors...this sounds delicious. I have not made polenta in ages...I do know that I will be making it soon!

  4. This looks divine Sam! I wish I had some right now. xo

  5. This looks really wonderful - I love the mediterranean vibe! how great the polenta just cooks itself - great combination:)
    Mary x

  6. Your polenta does look creamy and delicious..Mine has never fared that creamily..must try this MS version Sam..and you're right,gorgeous colors in this dish.

    This all looks very keeperish to me.

  7. Oh my pinning this... I've wanted a polenta meal.

  8. Recipe saved. We love chick peas and although we love polenta I do not often use it other than in South African dishes. Thanks. Have a good weekend Diane

  9. Some of my favorite flavors! I love chick peas. And look forward to trying the oven polenta!

  10. The stew looks so delicious, Sam. I am sure it would go well with rice or potato puree.

  11. What fabulous recipes! I never trued cooking polent in the oven--that will be a real time saver, and the chicken and chick pea stew is soemthing I know my husband and I will really enjoy.

  12. Oh my goodness, this looks SO good! I'm always looking for more chicken recipes

  13. This dish sounds very good Sam and it does make a pretty presentation. I've never tried polenta in the oven but it sounds like a good way to go.

  14. Be still my culinary heart~ I love anything on top of polenta. YUMMY!

  15. This looks amazing! I definitely think it would be great with shrimp as well. Totally trying this. Pinning!

    I would love for you to come over and link up at Wine'd Down Wednesday if you get a chance. We party every week from Tuesday evening to late Friday night! Hope to see you there!

  16. I saw this delicious meal on FB...with everything I love!

  17. This sounds wonderful Sam. I love polenta but never tried making it in the over. What a great idea!

  18. Looks and sounds delicious! I adore polenta and am always looking for even more things to serve it with. Pinning to make very soon!

  19. I love this use of polenta. Just heavy enough for our chilly eves - but not overwhelmingly so. Love the mix of Mediterranean flavors. (I am pulling my oregano.)

  20. This is a very lovely and colorful meal! Perfect for a cool evening.

  21. This looks and sounds just fabulous Sam and I have to say I'm quite thrilled with this method of making polenta in the oven. Very cool!

  22. I thinks this looks and sounds delicious Sam. And love the idea of serving it over polenta. Got to try this one soon.

  23. This looks delicious. The polenta is comforting and the meal is satisfying. There is not a bean I don't enjoy garbanzos would be just fine.

    Happy fall to you.

  24. I love just about anything over polenta! I'm so glad it's fall and we get to start making these comforting foods again!

  25. I'm not a fan of polenta, but this sounds outstanding. Maybe I'll replace the polenta for pasta or couscous.

    - The Tablescaper

  26. I look forward to trying this recipe as I am very fond of Mediterranean flavors and I like anything with polenta.
    FYI I liked you FB page and will appreciate your like, too.

  27. Hi Sam,
    It is rainy and chilly here today and your Mediterranean Chicken Stew on Polenta would be perfect. I really love Polenta it is so comforting. Hope you are having a great weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  28. what an elegant dish....
    look at the colore, beaitifully arranged too, polenta dish is not that easy to capture...
    great job my friend!

  29. This dish looks absolutely delicious, Sam. I'm intrigued by the way you cooked polenta and can't wait to try it. Love that it eliminates all the stove top stirring.

  30. This looks lovely - My kind of dish for those cool autumn nights. I've been ordering polenta more in restaurants, and it is such a nice base for a hearty stew.

  31. That plate is perfectly composed, you really put this together well, Sam.


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