Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I know I've said this before, but Ina Garten reigns supreme in my world. I recently purchased her latest cookbook, How Easy Is That, and have bookmarked quite a few recipes to try. At the rate she's going, I'll soon need an entire shelf just for her books. When you eat chicken as much as we do, you're always looking to change it up a bit. Sure I've made Ina's Tuscan lemon chicken, but the lemon chicken breasts looked divine. And, well, yes, we recently became reacquainted with grits and they were delectable, but I'm Italian, so that cheesy polenta was a must.

Lemon Chicken Breasts - Serves 4
1/4 cup good olive oil
3 tbs minced garlic (9 cloves)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tbs grated lemon zest (1-2 lemons)
2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 chicken breasts, skin on (mine were on the bone; Ina's called for boneless) 6-8 oz each

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute (don't allow the garlic to brown). Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 tsp salt and pour into a 9X12 inch baking dish.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up OVER the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon into 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.

Bake for 35-45 minutes for bone in breasts (less for boneless), until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. You can place the chicken under the broiler if you wish the skin to brown more; I didn't. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.

4 cups chicken stock (I used low sodium chicken broth)
2 tsp minced garlic (2 cloves)
1 cup yellow cornmeal, stone ground (like Ina, I used Quaker)
1 tbs Kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup freshly grated cheese (I prefer Asiago and used it in place of Parmesan; it's less salty)
1/4 cup creme fraiche (I substituted sour cream)
2 tbs unsalted butter

Place the chicken broth in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and cook over medium-high heat until the broth comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and very slowly whisk in the cornmeal, whisking constantly to make sure there are no lumps. Switch to a wooden spoon, add the salt and pepper, and simmer, stirring almost constantly for 10 minutes, until thickened. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot thoroughly while you're stirring. Off the heat, stir in the cheese, sour cream, and butter. Taste for seasonings and serve hot.
Where were these recipes when I was working full time and had to put dinner on the table in under 30 minutes or risk DSO falling asleep in his mashed potatoes? While there was some prep required for each dish,  both were uncomplicated and easy to get on the table in short order. The sauce on this chicken is the kind you want a loaf of bread to sop up. Given that we're both watching our weight and fat intake, this did not happen. But, in my next life, when I weigh 100 pounds, I intend to do just that. The polenta was a wonderful accompaniment to the chicken. The Asiago added the perfect nuttiness and it was hard not to go back for seconds. I'll be sauteeing the leftover polenta, another favorite way to eat this dish. DSO and I both prefer dark meat, so next time I'll make this with thighs and legs (and cut out the starch so I can enjoy some ciabatta, the better to capture that sauce.


  1. Yum! I tagged the lemon chicken breasts to make when I got the book. After seeing them here I really want them now. ;-)

  2. Arlene- I was just looking through Ina's newest book this morning and stopped when I got to this page. There is something about this recipe, along with the polenta that screams homemade comfort food. Plus, this also happens to be a meal that my entire family can eat and with Jackson's allergies, that is a godsend! It looks delicious.

    I'm dying to make her Baked Fontina. I even have the special cheese, but I'm waiting until I have a crowd here (or else...well, you know.)

  3. I love her too, this looks fantastic. I need thsi book.

  4. This looks better than any food channel network ever! It must be me but everything I try of hers never comes out good. This looks fabulous!I made a shrimp lemon and pasta dish she had on one time it was so bitter had to throw it all out! But everyone raves on her recipes, guess I will have to give this a go love it!

  5. I have had great luck with anything Ina does. The chicken is close to one of my chicken recipes. The polenta is new and looks so warming I must try it!


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