I have a new found love in my life. Its rich and creamy and cheesy – polenta! Before Ballymaloe, I had eaten grilled polenta a number of times and always found it delicious but had never attempted to cook polenta in any form and had actually never eaten soft polenta. What a revelation it was to eat it laden with butter and grated parmesan topped with a rich Italian beef stew! Yum!
So when I arrived here, it was one of the first things I put on my grocery list. There is a fabulous little Italian deli a few minutes walk away that sells a myriad Italian products as well as freshly made pasta and sauces to take home for dinner. I popped in one day and picked up a box of instant polenta – very lazy but saves hours of stirring when I am just cooking for two of us!
As a result of this, I am serving it with everything right now! We love stews and casseroles in our house and also have an addiction to chorizo so when the weather was still chilly a few weeks ago, I put this bad boy together. If you need comfort food, this is what you are looking for! Make up the polenta according to the packet instructions but here is the important part – add butter and grate in plenty of parmesan cheese. Then you can served it laced with whatever you wish or eat it alone if you are so inclined!
Chicken and Chorizo Stew:
- 1 Whole chicken, jointed into 8 pieces or 8 chicken thighs & drumsticks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 175g streaky bacon, cut into lardons
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 175g cured chorizo, cut into slices or chunks
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 2-3 tsp sweet, smoked paprika
- salt, pepper & a pinch sugar
- Heat the oil in a deep saucepan or casserole dish.
- Add the bacon and fry until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the bacon fat in the pan.
- Add the chicken pieces to the pan, skin side down to seal. Turn in the pan until sealed on all sides. Remove and set aside.
- Add the onion to the pan, fry for a minute or two and then add the garlic. Cover and sweat until the onions are soft.
- Add the chorizo and fry until it starts to release its oil. Now add the tomatoes, paprika and a pinch of sugar. Stir well.
- Return the chicken and bacon to the pot, cover and cook over a low heat until the chicken is cooked through – approx 30 minutes. You may need to add some water to thin out the sauce from time to time.
- Taste and adjust seasoning – be careful as the bacon may be salty!
- Serve on top of the polenta, mashed potato or rice – whatever takes your fancy.