Friday, April 1, 2011

Chicken Hash over Creamy Polenta

This was a totally random and made up dinner that ROCKED! I wanted something comforting, filling and wholesome - and I also wanted to use up produce that was on it's last leg in my house. I pulled every vegetable I had out of the fridge and then roasted two chicken breasts. All the ingredients are slow cooked in my dutch oven with wine and chicken stock and then served over the creamiest and most delish polenta. I didn't know what to call it, "everything but the kitchen sink chicken and veggies dinner?" Doesn't sound appetizing. A "hash" is a great way to maximize leftovers or use up produce before it spoils. Although a traditional "hash" usually contains potatoes of some sort, I replaced the starch with polenta and then named my recipe Chicken Hash over Polenta.
By the way, Jim is absolutely terrible at coming up with recipe names. I should start a list of his suggestions. My sweetie pie means well, but I'm pretty sure he would have named this "the really good chicken and vegetables."
Both Jim and I enjoyed this meal so much that I made it twice...and photographed it twice. I usually don't take pictures of a dish I've already posted, BUT I've made some improvements to my "kitchen studio."

I have invested in an EGO light and a small tabletop tripod. Can you tell the difference? Above is the new photo I took this week, below is my first run with this recipe that I took about a month ago. 

Here is the step by step photos from my first run at Chicken Hash over Polenta:

Final picture. It sure was tasty, but the picture is lacking.

I seasoned two skinless boneless chicken breasts with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder, then roasted in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Once cooked through, I let them rest for a few minutes, and then shredded the chicken with a fork.

In a dutch oven I heated a tablespoon of olive oil, then I added sliced carrots, diced celery, shredded brussels sprouts and diced onion.

After five minutes, when the veggies were getting soft and the mixture looked a bit dry, I added about a half cup of this Sterling Chardonnay (it's the same wine I'm sipping on RIGHT NOW as I write this blog post.)

Once the wine evaporated almost completely, I added a little over one cup of chicken broth.

Add the shredded chicken.

Add whatever fresh or dry herbs you want. This time it was fresh thyme.

I thought it needed a little something EXTRA, before I closed the lid, so I poured in this can of Del Monte diced tomatoes flavored with garlic and onion.

Okay, now this looks great. I put the lid on tight, turned the heat to low and let this saucy veggie mixture simmer for 20 minutes.

On to the polenta. I absolutely love the way Simply Recipes made their creamy polenta, I highly recommend you try this!!!

For two servings, heat 1 cup of water lightly seasoned with salt to a boil over high heat.  Quickly whisk in 1/4 cup of polenta until fully incorporated.  Lower the heat to a low simmer, add 1 tablespoon of butter and allow the polenta to cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Finish by stirring in 1/4 cup of cream cheese and salt to taste.

After 30 minutes, the liquid had reduced and sauce thickened. The veggies are very tender and full of flavor. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Serve the hearty chicken and veggie "hash" over a mound of creamy polenta. This is comfort food ya'll! So warm and filling, full of veggies!

DON'T GO! Ahhh... I'm so giddy to show you the SAME (reletively same) recipe, but with new lighting and better camera skills.

Okay, here we go!

Again, I empty the fridge with whatever produce I have available.

I had half an onion left over from another recipe, so I sliced in thinly.

I rinsed and sliced two stalks of celery.

Next, I sliced and then diced one carrot.

In my dutch oven I heated a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat, then added all the chopped veggies (including about six slices of zucchini).

I thought I would give this dish a PUNCH with about three shakes of crushed red pepper. It was a definite KICK in this recipe!

I just discovered the pre-peeled garlic cloves at my HEB. I love using real and fresh garlic, but I absolutely HATE with a passion the peeling of garlic. Before now I was using the minced garlic in a jar, which isn't a bad plan B, but I am just ecstatic to buy the garlic cloves already peeled. Thank you HEB!

I sliced two garlic cloves vey thin.

Added the garlic to the other veggies, and stirred together until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

You know all those brown bits on the bottom of my pot? I'm about to deglaze the pan with this lovely Sterling Chardonnay. This is my go-to white wine, it's delish!

After adding about 1/2 cup of white wine, the veggies sizzle, and I scrape up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

When the liquid is almost evaporated, I add a leftover baggie of diced tomatoes I found in my fridge, it amounts to a little over 1/2 cup.

My sweet husband was thoughtful enough to grill an extra chicken breast for me at lunch time and so I pulled it out of the fridge and sliced it thinly.

Lastly I added about a cup of chicken stock.

I love this picture. Put the lid on tight, turn down the heat to low and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

Do you have polenta in your pantry? You should. It's super easy to make, and it's a great substitute for potatoes, rice or risotto.

Following the recipe as I did above, this is one cup of water, with 1/4 cup of polenta added.

Add a "knob" of butter to the polenta, then turn off the heat. Instead of adding cream cheese in this recipe, I added a heaping tablespoon of mascarpone. Mascarpone is an Italian triple-cream cheese made from crème fraîche, it's incredibly decadent and pretty much makes any recipe better.

Now I'm just showing off my new tripod. I love the word “chiffonade," isn't it beautiful? When you hear that word, it actually means shred. The best way to chiffonade basil is to stack the leaves on top of each other.

Then roll up tightly like a cigar.

Next, start slicing thinly down the basil roll.

You get a beautiful mound of finely shredded basil. Too bad we haven't invented smell-o-blogs yet, because I absolutely love the fresh scent of basil.

 I had a tad bit of whipping cream left in my fridge, so I poured a little in the chicken and veggies.

Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Serve the chicken hash on top of the creamy polenta.

I think this is a winning recipe, and as you can see by my two posts in one, it's highly customizable with whatever you may have leftover in your fridge and pantry. 

Be brave and bold in the kitchen, you just may surprise yourself! 


  1. What a delicious dish! This is my kind of meal, take what you have, slow cook it with wine & enjoy. Really how can you go wrong? :) the new lights are amazing! thanks for showing how big they are, I've been considering them for a while now (and really really want them) but I don't know if I have room on my countertops. The results sure make me want to make room!

  2. Andrea, I was really surprised at their size too. I just bought one (for now) and it puts off a LOT of light. So far I am very pleased with it. I don't want to post any of the pictures and recipes in my "to be posted file" because the new photos I'm taking look much better.

  3. This looks delicious and I love polenta! Great photos with the new set up. Looking forward to reading more recipes from you!

  4. Wow, the recipe and picture both look amazing!!

  5. love the new blog look! and wow- pictures are great!

  6. I'm so impressed with your studio set up! The photos look incredible! As does this recipe. I'm a huge fan of one dish meals to take in my lunch, will def add this to my list to make!

  7. your hash is great--so full of flavor! the real stroke of genius, though, is serving it over polenta. nicely done.

  8. Thank you all so much! Y'all sure know how to make a girl feel special!

  9. Mandy, the pictures look great, I've been trying to figure out how to make mine look better. I think I have to take a hint from you and invest in this lighting and tripod idea.


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