Comfort Food

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It’s cold here today! Chicago is in the single digits and that requires some comfort food and I can’t think of a more fitting dish than Chicken with Fennel and Olives, and to make it even more comforting it’s served on top of Creamy Warm Polenta.
This is a simple rustic dish, nothing fancy, cooked in one pan and packed with flavor, I guarantee it will make you all warm and cozy inside.
I used chicken thighs but you can use whatever chicken parts you like.
Here’s the recipe.
Chicken with Fennel and Olives
6 chicken thighs
1 fennel bulb, sliced
1 onion, sliced
8 cloves of chopped garlic
1 14 oz can of cherry tomatoes ( or diced)
Jumbo green pitted olives
Parsley, thyme, oregano and basil
White wine
In a large oven proof skillet brown up your chicken which has been seasoned with salt and pepper until it has a nice deep golden color, remove and drain the fat. Drizzle in some olive oil and saute the garlic, onion and fennel and then deglaze with a healthy splash of white wine. Add in your herbs, salt and pepper then place the chicken back in. Spread your olives all around then place the pan in a preheated 375F oven for around 45 minutes uncovered.
Creamy Polenta
1 1/2 cups of half and half, cream or milk
1 1/2 cups of chicken broth
3/4 cup of polenta, I used the instant kind
1 tablespoon butter
Grated parmesan ( a nice size handful) and chopped basil
In a deep sauce pan heat your milk and broth until boiling then whisk in the polenta until it starts to bubble and splatter, be careful! Take it off the stove add in butter, cheese, snipped basil, salt and pepper to taste. Tastes best when served immediately, if it thickens up just add more liquid to loosen it up.
Enjoy your weekend, we’ll be home Sunday rooting for the Bears! Go Bears!
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  1. Right at the beginning Brandy

  2. when do you add the tomatoes?

  3. I have been thinking about this dish since you first posted it, and I finally (2 months later!) made it this evening. Why did I wait so long?! It was amazing!!, and I’m now trying to lure people over so I can have the excuse to make it again!

  4. Made this with my long-distance sweetie on a rare weekend with him. We were in San Francisco, sunny but cold, and the perfect opportunity for comforty, salty goodness. It was fabulous right off the stove and made for great and deeply flavorful leftovers two days later (with a little white wine to soften up the polenta) when we had it for our Valentine’s Day lunch. I’m on my way home again … but thanks for the nice memory, and I promise we’ll both make it again (each in our own kitchens next time).

  5. Karen, Try 2 Tbl of fresh parsley, about 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, a pinch of dried oregano, and 2Tbl of fresh basil. My theory is taste as it cooks, you could always add more to your liking, hope this helps!

  6. Hi, This recipe sounds wonderful. I’m a newer cook and have been trying some of your recipes. I’m still not great at figuring out how much of the spices to use. How much of each Parsley, thyme, oregano and basil do you use for this recipe? Thanks so much!

  7. a new way for me to prepare polenta, thank you

    i was happy when my foster daughter who had not been exposed to much italian food,(like most people where i now live) went bonkers over the polenta i prepared for her

  8. Ok seriously…I am not even hungry but I am drooling!

  9. I raised my three kids with polenta … I am a polenta lover !! Your dish looks mouthwatering to me!

  10. this looks fantastic! Love fennel and chicken together.

  11. Comfortable and delicious, for sure. What a perfect winter dinner. I think we’ll be in this cozy, filling-food mode for a wee bit longer, might as well enjoy!


  12. I really love the sound of this – so simple, yet full to the brim with flavors!

  13. Absolutely Tim! If I would have had them I would have added them too! Glad you enjoyed it!

  14. Hi,

    Made this for dinner for the first time and it was a big hit. I though of adding mushrooms but decided to go strictly by your recipe. Do you think that would be a good addition?



  15. Whew – you sure do know how to stir up all of my emotions – lol – this looks AMAZING!

  16. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I am going to make it this week. Just by coincidence, I saw a can of cherry tomatoes for the first time in our little gourmet market and was wondering what I could do with them. Thanks!

  17. Perfect hearty meal for this cold season. My, I can’t help my mouth to water at the sight. Simply delicous and comforting.

  18. that looks delicious. Do you have any recipes using red wine?

  19. Anonymous, I’m so glad your family loved it and the grits worked out, good thinking!

  20. I made this tonight for my family and we all loved it, including my one and four year olds. I couldn’t find polenta at my store so I substituted with grits and it worked very well. Thanks!

  21. This looks so good…I will be trying it soon I’m sure.

  22. This sounds fabulous and easy. I accidentally discovered that if you put cooked polenta into the oven at a low temperature, that it will stay soft and creamy.

  23. Reminds me of Chicken Cacciatore style dish. Putting it on polenta is an excellent idea – I love it!

  24. Oh my goodness, Marie, I want to dive into this pot along with Linda! 🙂 I love stewed dishes like this on a cold day..especially served over creamy polenta! I also love the taste of fennel. It’s so flavorful!

  25. Comfort food is sometimes better than company hehehe.

  26. I tried this recipe out for dinner and I think all my taste buds just exploded 😀 Best comfort food ever!

  27. I am in dire need of being comforted. Warm, braised fennel and chicken always does the trick. Then you threw in the olives and served it with creamy polenta and oh my – I just may make it until February.

  28. Perfect comfort food! I can’t wait to gather up the ingredients and make this wonderful dish!

  29. I’m a huge fan of polenta. It’s one of my favorite comfort food side dishes.

  30. You’re right, I was comforted just looking at the photo. Great looking and sounding meal and I’m switching from pasta to polenta for tonights side dish.

  31. I want to dive right into that pot. The polenta makes it even more inviting.

  32. Polenta makes everything better, doesn’t it? I sometimes like to stick a little mascarpone in there for maximum creaminess.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one suffering from frigid temps. It seems your cold days have blown east. Hope by the time you read this everything is a little warmer (although it already is after eating your delicios dish).

  33. Marie, Marie, you know this is pushing on all the right buttons for me……I am a winter person, çause I am a comfort food person!!!
    Great food!

  34. I’m blissfully reading this recipe and thinking of all the wonderful flavours and textures. All from summer here, yes, but we are due a wet, windy and chilly Sunday.

  35. I can’t think of a better dish either. I’ll be over for dinner.

  36. I’m curled up and purrrrring at the thought of creamy polenta and this beautiful chicken dish. Since I can’t have any, shall I tell you that it’s been in the 60’s and 70’s in my part of California– and that tomorrow I’m going to ocean for some fresh air? I’m mean, sorry…but I’ve been holed up with a cold and I’m feisty!

  37. I am feeling warmer already.

  38. You had me at creamy polenta!

  39. I have been thinking recently of making a good fall-off-the-bone chicken stew with olives. This cinches it. I must do something like this next week. I like that you included fennel and served it over polenta.

  40. My kind of recipe.
    Love this dish. I am comforted!

  41. you make me Italian meals and I’ll spoil you with sweets? deal? lol

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