Grilled Calabrian Chile Chicken Thighs With Creamy Polenta
by Jordan Strack, Deno’s Mountain Bistro, Winter Park, Colorado
- 1½ cups canola oil
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 6 to 8 Calabrian chiles*, depending on spice comfort level
- 1 tablespoon rosemary, ground
- ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- 4 Smart Chicken thighs
- *Calabrian chiles are a small, red, medium-spiced pepper. Look for them at specialty food stores or jarred in the condiment aisle.
To make the marinade: In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine canola oil, thyme, chiles, rosemary, vinegar, lemon, Dijon mustard, granulated garlic, and black pepper. Blend until smooth. Add parsley and pulse until smooth, with some chunks of parsley. (Note that the marinade does not call for salt because jarred Calabrian chiles are typically quite salty.)
Reserve a small amount of the marinade (about ¼ cup), cover, and refrigerate until needed. Transfer the chicken thighs to a mixing bowl, and pour the remaining marinade over the thighs. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least four hours, or overnight.
Heat a clean, well-oiled grill to medium. Place thighs (skin-side down if using bone-in, skin-on thighs) on the grate. It’s best to turn and flip the thighs a few times to ensure thorough cooking. Cook until the thighs register an internal temperature of 165°F. Serve over Creamy Polenta (recipe follows).
- Creamy Polenta
- ½ tablespoon minced shallots
- ½ tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup cream
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup polenta
- ½ cup minced green onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- ¼ cup goat cheese (substitute cream cheese, ricotta, or mascarpone)
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- ½ cup Granna Padano or high-quality Parmesan cheese
In a medium pan over medium heat, sauté shallots and garlic. Add cream, milk, and water, and bring to a boil. Add the polenta and cook on low for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the polenta thickens and is no longer gritty. Stir in green onion, basil, parsley, goat cheese or cream cheese, paprika, and Parmesan cheese. Adjust texture or richness by adding more liquid as needed.
Pairing: Castello Di Ama 2014 Rosato Toscana IGT