This is ultimate fall comfort food in a bowl and so, so easy to make. I suggest getting nice marinated olives for this dish like you find in the deli section of most grocery stores. The more exciting the olives, the tastier the dish. Try to get olives marinated in olive oil, herbs, garlic, chilies…whatever you like. Polenta is just Italian ground cornmeal, so if you have trouble finding it, look for finely milled cornmeal at your store, and that will do just fine. Depending on the mill of the grain, it can take 20 to 30 minutes to cook.
– Jilly Lagasse
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¾ cup pitted marinated olives, sliced
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, whole
- Pinch of crushed red chili flakes
- ⅛ teaspoon oregano
- 29-ounce can of good-quality tomato puree
- 6 skinless chicken thighs, boneless or bone-in depending on preference
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups chicken stock or water
- ½ teaspoon salt of choice (I prefer Himalayan pink sea salt)
- 1 cup polenta (finely milled cornmeal)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons butter, to taste
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Black pepper to taste
Place all of the chicken ingredients except salt and pepper into your slow cooker and stir gently until well mixed. Be sure the chicken thighs are covered in the sauce, and season with a bit of salt and pepper.
Place the lid on your slow cooker and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours.
Make the polenta 30 minutes before you are ready to serve. Bring the stock or water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.
Once boiling, add in the salt and pour the polenta slowly into the boiling water while whisking constantly to ensure it stays lump free. Keep whisking until all of the polenta is added.
Once all the polenta is added, turn the heat down to low and simmer the polenta uncovered, being sure to keep whisking often until it starts to thicken. This can take 4 to 5 minutes.
Once it has thickened a bit, cover and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, depending on your polenta, being sure to whisk it every 5 minutes until fully cooked. You’ll know the polenta is done when it becomes stodgy and creamy. If you taste it, the grains should be cooked through and tender.
Once fully cooked, turn off the heat and add a tablespoon or two of the butter into the pan and stir until fully absorbed. Next add the Parmesan cheese to the pan and stir until well combined.
Cover the pan and let sit for 5 minutes undisturbed. After the 5 minutes taste, and re-season with black pepper if desired.
To serve, place a generous scoop of the creamy polenta into shallow bowls. Top with a scoop of the chicken mixture, being sure everyone gets a chicken thigh. Top with extra grated Parmesan if desired, and serve straight away.