Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mushrooms, Shallots, Chicken & Black Garlic Over Parmesan Polenta

This prolonged winter - as much as I really want to see it end - has given me another chance at making those cold weather dishes I simply haven't had enough of yet. 

Before the temps finally head into the 50's, 60's and 70's, I took the opportunity to make one last great big pot of chile the other night. And tonight? Tonight it was a new dish I'd been thinking about making for quite a while. 

I browned lardons of bacon and seared some thinly sliced chicken breast in the smoky rendered bacon fat first, then sauteed shallots, tons of mushrooms and fermented black garlic in the same pan. Once the chicken, bacon and veggies were ready, a hefty amount of white wine brought everything together to spoon lavishly over smooth, creamy Parmesan polenta. So good!

You've never heard of fermented black garlic? Neither had I until a recent stroll through the aisles at Trader Joe's. I love this stuff! It's sweet and mild and lush and garlicky and....I think I'll be coming up with more and more dishes to use it in. Since it's from Northern Japan (it says so on the TJ's package), Asian dishes are definitely next in the line up of black garlic menu items to try. 

Sweet, mild, luscious fermented black garlic from Trader Joe's - get yourself some!

Mushrooms, Shallots, Chicken & Black Garlic 
Over Parmesan Polenta

  • 2 slices bacon (or 1 if it's thick sliced), cut across into 1/2" pieces
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut across into thin slices
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 5 large cloves of fermented black garlic, removed from papery skin and pressed into a paste with the flat side of a chefs' knife
  • 3/4 pound assorted sliced mushrooms, I used half gourmet blend and half cremini
  • 1 t. chicken soup base
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 C white wine
  • 2 t. cornstarch
  • 1 T. water

In a large skillet, fry the bacon until it begins to brown and has rendered its fat. Add the chicken and cook through. Remove from pan, but leave all the juices in the pan.

Add the shallots and the black garlic paste into the juices in the pan and stir well. Once the mushroom begin to cook add the chicken soup base, pepper and the wine. Cook until the mixture comes together. 

Mix the cornstarch and water together and pour over the mixture in the pan, stirring gently until a smooth sauce forms.

To Serve, spoon the chicken and mushroom mixture over polenta and enjoy!

Parmesan Polenta

  • 8 C chicken stock - I used unsalted
  • 2 t. salt - use less if your stock is already salted
  • 2 C polenta
  • 3 T. butter
  • 2/3 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large, deep, heavy-bottomed pot, bring the stock and salt to a boil. Sloooooowwwwly pour in the polenta while stirring constantly. Continue stirring for a minute or two until you're sure the mixture is smooth. Stir frequently for another 20-25 minutes until the polenta is thick and smooth and creamy. Stir in the butter and the Parmesan completely. 

NOTE: I'll tell you a secret. I love this simple stove top dish, but I'd love it just as much without the chicken and using double the mushrooms. More mushrooms, more better! And if you used vegetable stock and left out the bacon - use a tablespoon or two of olive oil - and eliminated the chicken soup base, you'd have a nice vegetarian dish for Lent.

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