Summery Polenta Bowls
*A summer recipe, virtual celebrations, and giving credit where credit is due*
Happy Saturday friends! Today/ this weekend we are celebrating my sisters graduation (they’re twins!) and though the large ceremonies were cancelled for obvious reasons, we’re making the most of it with fun decorations, yummy food, and some (surprisingly) fun and captivating virtual commencements- with a cameo from Robert De Niro no less! ( the perks have having a sister in film school).
Anyways, since the days are getting warmer and the summer produce is starting to roll in, I wanted to make a filling yet nutritious bowl with polenta, a peach + kale salad, and Aleppo grilled chicken, but first wanted to take the time to explore the context of this spice and its cultural origin, in light of the current controversy. Just as it is my goal to thoughtfully and carefully prepare and develop meals, it is now my goal to also take care in researching the origins and history of global ingredients and dishes, and in the process highlight the chefs/individuals of which such dishes are important culturally. Sharing some of my findings below!
"Aleppo is a red, mildly hot spice; with paprika, cumin, and chili powder notes, and it is a member the capsicum family. It is native to middle eastern cuisines, namely that of Turkey, Armenia, and Syria, as it named after Aleppo, a historically important trade city on the Silk Road. In Turkey, the spice is known as pul biber, and in Armenia it is known as haleb biber. Prior to the 2000s, it was rarely used in American cuisine, however, it has now become more popular in the West due to its feature in several media publications starting in the 1990s."
Onto the recipe! They great thing about these bowls is that they work great as leftovers, due to the sturdy nature of kale. Feel free to sub the polenta for a grain of choice as well.
Summer Polenta Bowls (yields about 5 bowls):
Grilled Aleppo Chicken-
-1 whole chicken, spatchcocked and cleaned
-Handful of thyme
-2 tbsp salt
-1/3 cup olive oil
-1/2 tbsp Aleppo pepper
-Black pepper to taste
-Zest of one lemon
-1 cup dry polenta
-4-5 cups of water, as needed
-1 tbsp bouillon of choice, or sub water for stock of choice
-1/2 tbsp olive oil
-hefty pinch of salt
-1 head kale of choice, de-ribbed and washed
-1 head fennel
-1/2 English cucumber
-1/4 cup snap peas, sliced
-1/2 watermelon radish, alt. 1/2 bunch regular radish
-Juice of 1 lemon
-2-3 tbsp olive oil
-1/2 tsp salt
-Black pepper to taste
-2 tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds
Combine marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Place chicken onto a sheet tray and rub with marinade, making sure to get under the skin. Light your grill and let warm for 5 minutes. Place chicken rib side down and grill for 20-25 minutes, then flip and repeat, or cook until deepest part of the chicken reads 165°F in at least 3 places. Let cool, and cut or shred to liking. Set aside. In a medium sized pot set over medium high heat, combine polenta, water/stock, bouillon (if using), salt and 1 tbsp olive oil. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and stir constantly with a whisk until corn is thoroughly cooked, approximately 30 minutes. Cover and set aside. In a separate bowl, add kale, lemon juice, olive oil salt and pepper, and rub together with hands to soften. Add peaches, fennel, radish, cucumber, snap peas and pumpkin seeds and toss to combine. Build your bowls by adding a scoop of polenta, your shredded chicken, and kale salad, topping with more pumpkin seeds if desired. Enjoy!