While Chase was busy chasing brown drakes (and trout), I was busy eating things I don’t get to usually, due to his aversion to most healthy foods like green beans, kale, quinoa and of course Brussels sprouts.
I knew I wanted Brussels sprouts and polenta, inspired by one of my favorite dishes at local restaurant Cornerstone Bar and Grill. However, I prefer my polenta in crispy chips, and I knew I wanted the Brussels sprouts shredded like in another favorite dish at local restaurant Enoteca.
This dish is savory, filling and what I consider to be quite balanced. It goes especially well with most of a bottle of wine and a good chick flick.
- 10 medium sized Brussels sprouts
- one chicken breast
- polenta “tube” (see photo)
- 2 T cup cubed pancetta
- 1 shallot
- goat cheese — I prefer the Laura Chenel Chevre brand because its soft, not too flaky, and easy to portion out small amounts
- 3 cloves garlic
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- Prep everything: (1) Wash and shred the Brussels sprouts by cutting the end off, then cutting them in half, and then slicing them as thinly as possible. (2) Cut the shallot into very thin pieces. (3) Mince the garlic. (4) Rinse and pat dry the chicken, and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. (5) Slice six ¼ inch pieces of polenta. You can cook everything pretty much at once with three frying pans, or you can cook one thing at a time and put it aside until all components are finished.
- Crisp the Polenta: Heat ½ T olive oil on medium in a medium-sized frying pan. Arrange the slices of polenta so that they all fit easily in the bottom of the pan. Keep an eye on these through the process — flip them with a spatula when one side begins to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Brown the chicken breast: Heat another ½ T olive oil over medium-high heat on a small frying pan. Brown one side of the chicken, then the other. Cover and reduce heat to medium low for about 10 minutes. Slice into the chicken to check on it. Once it’s still slightly pink inside, shred or cut (taking care to not ruin your pan) the breast into smaller pieces until all sides of the pieces are lightly browned and thoroughly cooked.
- Crisp the pancetta: You don’t really need olive oil because of the fat in the pancetta, but I added a drizzle for good measure. Cook the pancetta over medium-high heat until the pancetta is crisp and darker. I also prefer my bacon essentially burnt, so cook it however you please.
- Cook the Brussels sprouts mixture: Wipe a majority of the grease produced by the pancetta out of the frying pan you just used. Remember to check on your chicken and polenta! Add the shredded Brussels sprouts, minced garlic, sliced shallots, and a dash of salt, pepper, and olive oil to the pan. Cook the Brussels sprouts and shallots until slightly transluscent, about 7 minutes tops.
- Put it all together! Transfer the Brussels sprouts mix into a shallow bowl. Top with chicken breast, pancetta and however much goat cheese you’d like. Garnish with polenta “crisps” on the side.