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Zinfandel Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Polenta

I am something of a comfort food junkie.

Zinfandel Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Polenta

I have discovered, over the last year, the delightful bliss that is polenta.  I have also discovered that I am passionately in love with chicken thighs.  So, when I was craving something rich, creamy, and comforting the other night I decided to take my two new comfort food favorites and combine them into one dish.

Zinfandel Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Polenta

The braise for the chicken thighs is rather short, but chicken cooks fairly quickly so the 45 minute cooking time is enough to turn  moist meat into tender, buttery meat.  I crisped the skin before braising, so when I added the liquid I only brought it 2/3 the way up the thigh to preserve the crispness.  The mushrooms, which braise along with the chicken, absorb all the delicious braising liquids and become tender and plump.  The polenta is made from traditional long cooking polenta, but I cook it the lazy way.  Whisk it for five minutes then turn the heat to low, clamp on a lid and leave it alone for 25 minutes.  Served with a glass of Zinfandel, this meal is just about perfect.

Zinfandel Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Polenta    Serves 4

4 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely diced onion
8 ounces sliced crimini mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup Zinfandel
2-3 cups low-sodium chicken stock

For the polenta:
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup medium-grain yellow polenta (not instant)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
Salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 425 F.

Zinfandel Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Polenta Zinfandel Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Polenta

In a heavy bottom skillet add the olive oil and heat, over medium high heat, until the oil shimmers.  Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.  Add the chicken to the pan skin side down and cook, without moving, for five to six minutes, or until the skin is deeply golden brown and crisp.  Set aside to rest.

Zinfandel Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Polenta Zinfandel Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Polenta

Drain the drippings in the pan, reserving one tablespoon.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions and mushrooms.  Cook until they begin to soften then add the sliced garlic.  Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, about one minute.  Carefully add the wine and bring to a simmer.  Let the wine reduce slightly, about three minutes.

Zinfandel Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and PolentaZinfandel Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Polenta

Return the chicken thighs to the pan, skin side up, and add enough chicken stock to cover the thighs 2/3 of the way.  Do not cover the skin with liquid.  Place the pan into the oven and cook for about 45 to 55 minutes, or until the thighs reach 170 F.

Zinfandel Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Polenta Zinfandel Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Polenta

While the chicken cooks prepare the polenta.  In a medium pot over medium heat melt one tablespoon of the butter until it foams.  Add the onion and cook until tender, about five minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for about thirty seconds.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. 

Zinfandel Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Polenta Zinfandel Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Polenta

Once the stock reaches a boil slowly whisk in the polenta.  Once the polenta is completely whisked in cook, whisking constantly, for five minutes, then cover the pot with a lid, reduce the heat to low and cook for 25 minutes.  When the cooking time is up remove the lid, stir in any cooking liquid that may be on the top.  Take the pot off the heat and add the butter, cheese and cream.   Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, place some polenta in the center of the plate.  Place a chicken thigh on top and spoon over some of the mushrooms and a bit of the braising liquid.

 Zinfandel Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Polenta

Enjoy with the same Zinfandel you used in the braising liquid.

Zinfandel Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Polenta

© 2010, Evil Shenanigans – Baking & Cooking Blog. All rights reserved.

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19 Responses to “Zinfandel Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Polenta”

  1. Well, that just looks like the best chicken I’ve ever seen. Definitely going to make this for my hubby.

  2. julia says:

    I have a new found love for polenta too! And I just took some chicken out of the freezer this morning. Hmmm…this may be on the menu for tonight. Looks delicious!

  3. chicken thighs and soft polenta? This is right up my alley!! I love that you braised them too… ok, I’m drolling now.

  4. roxan says:

    Wow, really, I want to eat this RIGHT now! I’m going to make this next week, thank you for the recipe. I love how you pop open a bottle of wine for the cooking, and finish it up with dinner :] :] :]

  5. i LOVE polenta…what a fabulous meal!

  6. Fantastic!!! I’d have to say the chicken thighs are my favorite part. Yum!!! I need to get me some polenta asap!

  7. sam houston says:

    wow chicken thighs are my favourite part it looks yummy i m going to make this week thanks for sharig your recipe

  8. Yum… Love this! I think I’d have to drink a glass of zinfandel while making this amazing dish. Drinking wine while cooking always makes food taste better!

  9. Maria says:

    I will take all of the mushrooms and extra polenta:)

  10. bunkycooks says:

    This looks like total comfort food! Polenta, wine, mushrooms, chicken…it has to be good.

  11. sweetlife says:

    i love chicken thighs and polenta..my kind of dish

    sweetlife

  12. Alta says:

    Will you make this for me? It looks SO good. I love chicken thighs – I can totally justify the extra calories – they’re way more delicious than breasts. And polenta? Yum. I’ve made a grilled chicken thigh plus polenta dish a few times – it’s interesting how vastly different my version is to yours, using the same main ingredients. I could crawl into that dish and just feel at home!

  13. Drick says:

    what a nice crust on those thighs and the muchroom sauce is just great

  14. MichellePC says:

    I’m always looking for new chicken recipes, and this sounds/looks fantastic and approachable! Thanks for sharing.

  15. Bibi says:

    I am not a big fan of Polenta, but that looks really delicious. Love chicken and mushrooms.

  16. Brad says:

    Thanks for the great recipe for chicken thighs, which I think aqre the best part of the chicken after the wings. It really looks and sounds great, I think my mom will like it also.

    I think we’ll be seeing each other at IFBC 2010, can’t wait to meet you. Have a great day

  17. You had me at Polenta : ) & we LOVE chicken thighs – so moist & juicy!

  18. Erin says:

    After I made this for my boyfriend he said it was one of the top three meals he’s had in his life! And he knows good food. Thanks for the recipe!

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