This is a wonderful dish that I adapted from a recipe by Stephanie Kirkos, a gluten-free cookery expert. In her recipe she uses corn starch, which is the American name for corn flour, whereas I used polenta. Please refer to the end of this post for information on cornstarch, corn flour and cornmeal/polenta.
This is my version of Stephanie’s Mediterranean chicken recipe. You can use whatever cuts of chicken you prefer. Next time I’ll probably use chicken thighs or breasts as there wasn’t much meat on the drumsticks!
Preparation and cooking time: 1 hour
3 x chicken drumsticks
3 x chicken thighs
30g polenta (corn meal)
1 tsp cayenne chilli pepper
2 tbsp grapeseed oil (or similar cooking oil)
120 ml (9 tbsp) dry white wine
3 small organic onions, peeled and cut into quarters
1 long red sweet pepper (Macaroni pepper), deseeded and sliced
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
120 ml / 9 tbsp gluten-free chicken stock
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
50g pitted green olives
100g sun-dried tomatoes, reconstituted with boiling water (see below for instructions)
1 tbsp dried oregano
1) Mix together the polenta and cayenne pepper. Place the chicken pieces in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle with the polenta and cayenne mix, and toss to coat.
2) To reconstitute the sun-dried tomatoes, simply place them in a small heat proof bowl (Pyrex or similar). Pour enough boiling water over the top to cover and let them sit for a few minutes. Drain, chop and set aside until the end of the recipe.
3) Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over a medium heat. Shake off any excess polenta from each chicken piece, then add to the pan in a single layer. Cook with lid on for 5 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 5 minutes, until they are just about cooked through. Remove chicken from the pan and arrange in an even layer on a large plate covered with kitchen roll. Set aside.
4) Add the white wine slowly to the pan to deglaze. Stir gently. Add the onions and simmer for about 2 minutes until they are softening.
5) Add the halved cherry tomatoes, chicken stock, and lemon juice to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
6) Add the chicken pieces back to the pan along with the reconstituted tomatoes, olives, and dried oregano. Stir gently on a low heat and cook for about 5 minutes, until the liquid thickens and the chicken is cooked through.
7) Remove pan from heat and serve over lentils, gluten-free pasta, steamed brown rice, quinoa . . . or just by itself!
This is my take on it . . . . .
POLENTA isn’t polenta until it’s cooked – until then it’s just corn meal. So if you’re on a budget, look for corn meal as it tends to be an awful lot cheaper than anything labelled polenta.
POLENTA is more of a dish, rather than an ingredient. It refers to a porridge or mush, made by grinding corn into flour, or meal. It has its roots in the peasant cuisine of northern Italy. It is gluten-free and can eaten either smooth and hot, or set in the fridge and eaten in slices. Polenta tastes best when seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon juice. It accompanies fish, meat, mushroom and cheese brilliantly. It can be used as an alternative to rice, bread or mashed potato.
POLENTA comes in fine and coarse granules, white and yellow. The white version, has a more delicate flavour, and pairs beautifully with seafood. Yellow polenta is best served with meat or cheese dishes and has a slightly sweet flavour.
CORN STARCH (also known as corn flour) is a thickener and is often used in gravies and pies. It is produced by grinding, washing and drying the endosperm of the corn until it reaches a fine, powdery state. Cornstarch is gluten free.
CORN MEAL and CORNFLOUR are the same thing, but corn flour is usually ground to a much finer texture than corn meal which is coarse.
Quick breads use corn meal, flat breads like tortillas use corn flour, and gravies and pies use corn starch (cornflour).