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Braised Chicken Thighs & Peppers over Creamy Polenta

 

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This simple, big-flavor chicken thigh dish is a great intro to the fundamentals of braising. Braises are perfect for richer cuts of meat—bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs in this case—and are all about building layers of flavor over time. You're essentially browning successive batches of ingredients (meat, followed by aromatics like onions, followed by peppers), then trapping all of that tasty goodness in liquid to create a complex and deeply delicious dish. Serve over creamy polenta to soak up this flavorful liquid and voila, dinner perfection!

overall cook time:  45 to 55 min
inactive cook time:  20 to 30 min

servings:  4

Ingredients

  • 8 Bone-In, Skin-On Pasture-Raised Chicken Thighs
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 14-oz Whole Canned Tomatoes
  • 1 TB Tomato Paste
  • ¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 Cup Polenta
  • 2 TB Butter
  • 2 TB Half and Half or Heavy Cream
  • 1 TB Fresh Oregano Leaves, for garnish
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Sear the Chicken
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    • Pat the chicken thighs dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides.

    • In a large, high-sided pan, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil on high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken thighs, skin-side down first, and cook until golden brown on the outside, about 4 to 6 minutes per side.

    • Transfer the browned chicken to a plate, leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan.

  2. Cook the Vegetables
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    • Heat the pan of fond on medium-high until hot. (If dry, add up to 2 teaspoons of olive oil.)

    • Add the peppers and onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes.

    • Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 to 45 seconds.

    • Add the whole tomatoes; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. 

  3. Braise the Chicken
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    • Add the browned chicken thighs, skin-side up, back to the pan with the vegetables.

    • Add the chicken broth. Reduce the heat to medium and cover. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

    • Then, uncover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the liquid is slightly thickened and reduced in volume, about 10 minutes longer.

    • Turn off the heat. Taste, then season with salt and pepper.

  4. Cook the Polenta
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    • While the chicken braises, cook the polenta according to the package. (If the polenta seems too thick, you can add about ¼ cup of water to thin it out.) Remove from the heat.

    • Stir in 2 tablespoons of butter and half and half or heavy cream. Taste, then season with salt to taste.

  5. Finish Your Dish
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    • Divide the cooked chicken, vegetables and polenta between dishes. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and fresh oregano leaves.


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