Polenta & Sumac-Crusted Chicken with Minted Yoghurt
The Recipe Rut is a common phenomenon. It afflicts households of every demographic, in nations around the globe. Sadly, another victim of these kitchen doldrums is one of our favourite meats — chicken. It’s prepared in the same few ways time and again, and comes to be seen as a bland and boring meal choice. Nothing could be more distant from the truth.
In an attempt to enliven mealtimes, we’d like to show you one of our favourite recipes, filled with zesty flavours, beautiful textures, and showcasing the wonderful versatility of chicken. This recipe benefits from the use of dark meat, rather than the favoured chicken breast white meat. However, boning chicken thighs is a tedious chore. Let Butcherman take the work out of it, for you. They offer high quality, locally sourced chicken thigh fillets, perfectly dressed and ready for a party in the kitchen.
Polenta adds a unique texture that other coatings can’t quite reproduce. It bakes up crunchy, and conveys a wonderful flavour not found with flour, corn flakes, or potato chips—which have all been used to help produce a crunchy crust for baked or fried chicken.
2 Butcherman Chicken Thighs
1 large egg
2 tsp cumin seeds
1.5 tbsp sumac
1/3c grape molasses
sea salt and cracked black pepper
½ c Greek yoghurt
7 coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
5 mint leaves, coarsely chopped
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Making the minted yoghurt ahead of time is a great idea. Simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl, mixing thoroughly, and store tightly covered in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
For the chicken, make sure your grill is preheated to medium-high and a baking tray lined with foil. In a bowl, beat your egg. In a separate bowl, combine the sumac, polenta, cumin seeds, salt and pepper. Cutting your Butcherman chicken thigh fillets into 2 cm thick strips for quick cooking, bathe them in the egg, and then dredge them in the polenta. Arrange on your foil-lined tray as you go.
Bake the chicken on the grill for no less than two minutes per side. Once you’ve done this, use a brush to apply the grape molasses, cooking another 4 minutes per side.
Perhaps the best thing about this dish is that you can easily expand it to accommodate a large party or keep it small for an intimate dinner. The flavours of sumac, polenta, grape molasses, and minted yoghurt harmonize perfectly, and are a palate pleaser for even the most discerning guests. You can serve these delightful chicken strips with a light salad of field greens—the peppery notes of the wild lettuces and endives effortlessly accompanying the rich, lemony tart and sweet essences of the main dish.
If using the minted yoghurt as a salad dressing doesn’t appeal to you, there’s an easy fix. With the juice of one lemon, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper, you have an easy salad dressing that won’t steal the show. Simply whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl just before plating your salad. Then, drizzle lightly over your greens. This dressing can be used to coat grilled veggie skewers or enliven roasted corn on the cobb, because it acts to enhance flavours, not compete for attention.
Polenta is aptly called “Italian Grits” in many circles. Ranging from medium to fine coarseness, stone ground corn is boiled with water to produce a thick porridge. Corn was introduced during the Age of Exploration and quickly became a staple of the Northern Italian peasant diet. However, in modern use, it makes an excellent foundation dish, and an alternative to potatoes, rice, pasta, and other starches.
We hope you’ll enjoy this delicious, lemony, fresh way to prepare chicken. Your guests will sigh with delight, your children will (most likely) eat their vegetables, and your dog will fetch the newspaper, whether you’ve taught it how to do so or not.