All winter I craved stew and yet I never made it, not one time! So today while on my weekly trek to Whole Foods I bought a package of boneless skinless chicken breasts and decided to make a healthy chicken stew. I remember my mother-in-law making Chicken Cacciatore or as she often called it Chicken Stew. I have read several similar recipes, there are many versions on line and in Italian cookbooks. In some recipes the chicken is in a brown gravy made with garlic, wine, and water. Others like mine, the chicken is cooked in tomatoes with vegetables. In most recipes the chicken breast are left whole; I followed Mom’s lead and cut the breast into chunks like you find beef for stew. Mom would put this stew over rice or pasta however, I had desire for polenta, creamy soft cheesy polenta! So on this cool Spring day I made this delicious healthy dish and you can too!
Preheat oven to 275 degrees
3 boneless skin less chicken breast cut into chunks (you can use thighs if you prefer)
1/4 cup almond flour mixed with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces of cremini mushrooms sliced
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic of diced fine
1 medium zucchini cut into pieces
1 28 ounce can of plum tomatoes (I like Cento San Marzano)
1 tablespoon tomato paste (you can find it in a tube for easy use)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
Place chicken chunks in a bowl; add almond flour mix and coat the chicken pieces.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven. Add the mushrooms cover and cook about 10 minutes or until brown. Do not salt the mushrooms!! Add the onions and garlic to the mushrooms and cook about 5 more minutes Remove the vegetables from the pot. Add the other tablespoon of olive oil to the pot then add the chicken pieces and brown slightly. Move the chicken to the sides and add the tomato paste to the hot pot and cook for 2 minutes. Return the mushrooms, onions, and garlic to the pot and deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of red wine. Cook about 3 minutes then add the tomatoes, bay leaf, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer, taste for salt and pepper. Cover pot and place in the oven for about 1 hour. Add zucchini and stir. Cook for another 1 1/2 hours.
About 30 minutes before the stew is done start the polenta.
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill polenta
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon salt (1/2 if you are not using cheese)
1/2 cup grated parma cheese (you can omit if your not eating dairy)
1 tablespoon Kerrygold butter (it is delicious grass fed butter)
In a medium size sauce pot bring the chicken stock to a boil. Once the stock starts to boil slowly whisk in the polenta and reduce heat to low. Simmer the polenta for 20 minutes stirring often as it thickens. Add the butter and whisk in; remove from heat and add cheese. Whisk again.
Cover the bottom of a shallow bowl with the creamy polenta. Top the polenta with the delicious chicken stew. Pour a glass of red wine; grab a fork and dig in!