This simple recipe for polenta with shredded chicken, fontina, and sage butter sauce is what you make for dinner when you don’t know what to make for dinner!
So, this doesn’t happen to stubborn inflexible me too often, but every once in a while I come home thinking I am going to be making one thing for dinner and it ends up as another. I don’t ever stray TOO far afield — the ingredients generally stay the same – but occasionally they come together in a way that was, um, not the way I originally planned.
That’s what happened to me tonight.
On the menu was sliced grilled chicken, with a creamy cheese polenta on the side, flavored with some fresh sage. I also had in the back of my mind that later this week I am going to be making a cold sesame noodle salad with shredded chicken, so my multi-tasking Plan was to grill enough chicken for both meals. Or to be totally accurate, my Plan was to ask my dashing Southern grill-loving husband to grill enough chicken for both meals. So far, so good.
Off he goes out to the grill, and in I stay to look over the polenta recipe. It’s a basic polenta recipe — make the polenta, stir in cheese and butter and chopped sage, serve — and as I always do, I start envisioning how it is going to look on the plate.
Polenta with shredded chicken, fontina, and sage butter sauce. It's what's for dinner!Click To TweetAnd…I started wondering. What is I shredded the chicken? And what if I didn’t mix in all the cheese? And what if I didn’t mix in all the butter, but saved some for a tiny little sauce? And I wonder if there are any ice cream sandwiches in the freezer for dessert? Oh wait.
So, in comes the helpful Southern husband with the chicken, which he then offers to shred for me (why yes! thank you!), and it all started coming together in my mind.
Nice pool of cheesy polenta on a round plate. Little mound of grilled, shredded chicken in the center. Fresh grated parmesan cheese on top of the chicken. Melted butter with chopped sage drizzled over the whole thing.
And yes, there are some ice cream sandwiches in the freezer!
- 4 cups cold water
- 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmagiano
- 3 ounces diced fontina cheese
- 5-6 sage leaves, minced
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups grilled and shredded chicken breast
- Bring water to boil and add salt. Reduce heat to medium low and pour the cornmeal into the water in a slow constant stream, whisking all the time to prevent lumps.
- Simmer for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on consistency of cornmeal, stirring regularly, until polenta is thick.
- Add 1 tablespoon butter, half the Parmagiano and all the fontina. Stir until cheese is melted.
- Melt remaining butter and stir in sage (this can be done in the microwave).
- Spoon polenta onto plate in a nice round. Top with shredded chicken and remaining Parmagiano. Drizzle melted sage butter over top.