Braised Chicken Thighs with Cannelleni Beans & Kale on Spicy Polenta Cake

Thanksgiving

Braised Chicken Thighs with Cannelleni Beans & Kale on Spicy Polenta Cake

Serves3-4
Meal type Main Dish
Region European
By author Kendra Valentine
Black Women in Europe 10th Anniversary Recipe Created y Kendra Valentine "I wanted to develop a dish that expressed the underlying culinary roots shared by black women throughout the African diaspora. While at the same time highlighting common cooking techniques shared with Europe, as well as by using ingredients more readily available in Europe. Thus, collards have become kale, red beans are traded for cannellini, and coarse cornmeal for refined polenta: to create a dish that is equal parts comfort and celebration to honor the 10th Anniversary of BWIE".

Ingredients

    Chicken

    • 6 chicken thighs (bone-in and skin-on)
    • 1 can cannelleni beans
    • 2 cups chopped kale (packed)
    • 1 small yellow onion (diced)
    • 1 clove garlic (diced)
    • 1 leaf bay
    • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
    • 1 can cherry tomatoes
    • 1.5 cups red wine (or just chicken broth)
    • 1 splash red wine vinegar
    • 0.5 teaspoon thyme
    • 0.5 teaspoon oregano
    • sprinkle salt
    • sprinkle black pepper

    Chicken (Optional)

    • parsley or fresh herbs for plating

    Polenta Cakes

    • 2 cups yellow cornmeal
    • 1 Small red chili (diced)
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 cups water (boiling)
    • oil (for frying)

    Note

    I wanted to develop a dish that expressed the underlying culinary roots shared by black women throughout the African diaspora. While at the same time highlighting common cooking techniques shared with Europe, as well as by using ingredients more readily available in Europe. Thus, collards have become kale, red beans are traded for cannellini, and coarse cornmeal for refined polenta: to create a dish that is equal parts comfort and celebration to honor the 10th Anniversary of BWIE.

    --Kendra Valentine

    Vegetarian substitute for chicken: eggplant & chickpeas.

    Directions

    Chicken
    Step 1
    First, go ahead and brown the chicken thighs in a little oil… you’re not cooking them through just browning the outside… then set aside. Turn on the oven to heat up (200 C or 350 F)
    Step 2
    Into the same roasting pot or Dutch oven (be sure you have oil left) we are going to start the braise with softening the onion and garlic. Also, add your bay leaves and go ahead and cook that down on medium heat until the onion is soft.
    Step 3
    Next, add in a splash of vinegar… it will sizzle and release all the nice brown bits stuck to the pan… that helps get more delicious into the chicken!
    Step 4
    Add in a nob of tomato paste and your herbs and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper (I like to salt in stages.)
    Step 5
    Next, add in the chicken broth and red wine… it helps to break down the meat and gives great flavor. You could just use water or chicken broth as well. Also add in the canned cherry tomatoes and another sprinkle of salt.
    Step 6
    Finally, add the chicken back to the pot, skin side up, and let that heat up to a nice simmer, then turn the heat down to medium low simmer and cover. All but the very tops of the chicken thighs should be covered in liquid.
    Step 7
    Transfer to the oven, and after 30 min or so it will soften up…
    Step 8
    Next, add in the chopped kale and beans. Try to get in beneath the chicken thighs, so it can cook in the liquid. Add a splash of water if needed. Salt to taste. Return to oven.
    Step 9
    After 15 min., to finish off the thighs, open the pot and let the dish broil under high top heat for a few minutes until golden.
    Polenta Cake
    Step 10
    For the spicy polenta cakes:
    (Tip: Get your mix done while the chicken is braising. When you are browning the thighs at the last step, start frying your cakes.)
    Step 11
    Heat enough oil in a skillet or heavy bottom skillet on high heat. Oil should come up 1/3 up the side of the pan.
    Step 12
    In a bowl, mix together polenta, salt, and diced chilies. Stir in enough boiling hot water so that the mixture comes together into a smooth batter. Creamy yet firm enough to form into a small patty.
    Step 13
    Once the oil in the skillet is hot, spoon mixture into hands to form patty then gently place in the hot oil. Fry on each side until crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
    Step 14
    To plate:
    Place a polenta cake on the plate and then top with the braised kale & cannelleni and juices (that polenta cake will sop it up!). Place a chicken thigh directly on top, and finish with a sprinkle of olive oil and chopped parsley or other fresh herb you have on hand. Enjoy with a bold red wine!

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