BBQ Spiced Chicken, Salsa Salad and Pumpkin Chipotle Polenta

IMG_1121I have to admit, although I married into an Italian family (with the last name Pasquinucci), I had never cooked with polenta before. Not only did I have no clue how to even cook it, but I always thought it had the stigma of being like gruel with no flavor. So, in the spirit of Julia Child, I was not afraid and gave it a whirl!

For those of you who haven’t made it before, you will laugh at how quick and easy it is. Just boil chicken broth with half and half, throw in the polenta and it is done in literally 2 minutes. But, the trick is adding additional flavor – this recipe does a great job with chipotles in adobo (if you haven’t tried these before, start slow in adding them until you get the head you want) and pumpkin.

The chicken also has an amazing flavor, different than other BBQ chickens I have made.

This recipe is special thanks to Rachael Ray – whose spice and flavor I always love!

BBQ SPICED CHICKEN, SALSA SALAD AND PUMPKIN-CHIPOTLE POLENTA

1 tablespoon grill seasoning
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon coriander
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1/4 fresh pineapple, cut into spears and grilled
2 limes
A handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk or half-and-half
1 chipotle in adobo, finely chopped and 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
3/4 cup quick cooking polenta
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey

Heat grill pan over medium-high heat.
Mix spices and sugar in a large plastic food storage bag. Coat chicken with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and add to bag. Coat the chicken evenly in the spices and sugar. Let the chicken hang out a few minutes.

Chop and combine the tomatoes, bell pepper, onions and grilled pineapple spears.

Place chicken on grill and cook 6 to 7 minutes on each side.

Dress the salad with lime and a couple tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Season the salad with cilantro, salt and pepper.

Heat the stock and milk or half-and-half in a sauce pot with chipotle and adobo sauce. Whisk in the polenta and thicken 2-3 minutes, stir in pumpkin to warm through. Stir in butter and honey and season with salt and pepper.

Serve polenta with chicken and salsa salad.

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