Pepper Thyme Chicken over Polenta with Bitter Greens, from Laurie Colwin

Welcome to Our Sunday Café, we are pleased you stopped by for a visit. Today we are offering another delicious recipe from our kitchen. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

In March right after my birthday, I caught the circulating community bug.

While home sick from work, I got a hold of another bug and decided to take a look at Abe's books and before I knew it, I  began to order a few.......mostly Laurie Colwin novels. I have enjoyed reading Home Cooking, a writer in the kitchen and knew that for more great reading, I should stock up! Just like one does at the food market, I also stock up when I buy books.....

Currently, I am reading Family Happiness, a novel. There is a sameness about her writing whether she is explaining a character or a recipe, and I have found that I like it very much. Regarding her recipes they are more like a tutorial, allowing the home cook to cook with what they have, which is right up my alley.

From Home Cooking, I made this wonderful chicken dish...

Pepper Thyme Chicken over Polenta with Bitter Greens, a Laurie Colwin recipe.
Pepper Thyme Chicken over Polenta with Bitter Greens
Pepper Thyme Chicken over Polenta with Bitter Greens
adapted from:  Home Cooking, a writer in the kitchen

Cooks Note:  The recipe calls for Broccoli Rabe, a delicious, bitter vegetable. I love it, unfortunately, our fresh market was out, rather than not make this lovely dish, I did substitute spinach and although it is mild with the spinach, it is still a wonderful dish.

1 chicken, cut into 8 equal pieces OR 8 large chicken thighs (with bone and skin) about 3 pounds

1 scant T dried thyme, finely crumbled
scant 1/8 t fresh ground black pepper ( if you want, use more)
1 rounded T brown sugar
1/2 t salt*
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes (again, if you like, use more)

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T butter cut into 8 pieces

Cooked polenta for 6-8 servings

2 bunches of Broccoli Rabe, cleaned and steamed

Combine the dry ingredients to make a dry marinade, sprinkle over both sides of the chicken. Place chicken in a single layer in a pan large enough to have 1/2 space around each piece. Let rest at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350, sprinkle the chicken with the garlic and dot with the butter, bake chicken 1 1/2 hour or until chicken is very tender and skin is crisp.

While chicken is baking, cook polenta in the usual manner. When done, add a knob of butter, stir well. Cover and keep warm. When ready to serve, you may need to thin the polenta by stirring in a few tablespoons of boiling water, whisk until smooth. If you prefer your polenta stiffer, you may skip this step.

Then prepare the broccoli rabe by removing any tough lower leaves, wash well. Steam gently until bright green and the stems are tender (but not mushy). Drain well, set aside.

To serve:

Pour or spoon the polenta onto a large serving platter, surround with the greens, place chicken on top of greens in a decorative pattern.

From the drippings in the pan, skim off and discard all but 2 T of the chicken fat. Take a whisk and bring together the contents of the pan, scraping brown bits off bottom and sides. Pour over the polenta in the middle of the platter.


* Laurie Colwin was a salt-free cook, the addition of the garlic salt and sea salt are my own. While we do not cook with a lot of salt in this house, but these amounts are needed.

Presenting our unique and delicious collection of original recipes in our new book, Beef, Chicken, and Pork Book II available right here!

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  1. I have never read any Laurie Colwin. It sounds like I have missed out. And. . .your chicken sounds delicious.

  2. Greens with grits (or polenta) are right up my alley. Especially when the greens are spinach. The chicken looks perfectly glazed with savory, spicy, and sweet flavors. Thank you for stopping in and linking with See Ya in the Gumbo this week.

  3. I've only cooked polenta once but it does sound good with your chicken dinner. I hope you have a healthy week.

  4. I've never cooked polenta, but I love ordering it when I'm out - I'm pretty sure that means I should give this recipe a try!

  5. I haven't heard of the author, I'm glad you are enjoying her books and her recipes!

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  6. Hi Melynda,
    A delicious meal. I have never cook or eaten polenta before, though have seen lots of recipes using it. The chicken looks delicious, with pepper and thyme, already sound good to me!
    Thanks for sharing with CYB!


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