Easy Jalapeño Popper Chicken Chili and Cheddar Polenta Pot Pies
This is my first pot pie.
I have never eaten or made one. I know, can you believe that? Isn’t pot pie like an American standard? I think it is, but since it actually contains vegetables (peas, carrots and other veggies) and since I grew up with veggie hating brothers, pot pie was just not an option for me.
I am still not really sure I can say I have made a true pot pie since this one does not fit the typical pot pie mold.
They are creamy on the inside, right? And have things like peas and mushrooms in them? Oh and a pie crust? Am I right?
Well, these pot pies have none of those. Except the creamy party of course!
There is no peas, no carrots and no mushrooms. Although, you can definitely add those if you’d like, especially the mushrooms. I bet those would be good, but most of the people I regularly feed despise mushrooms. I have learned to love them over the years….once I got over their ugliness, and that they kind of reminded me of moldy things.
Actually, they really don’t gross me out at all any more and I kind of think they have a prettiness to them. Especially if I do not let them sit in the fridge for a week and get all slimy.
Anyway, the pot pies.
The top is not really a crust, it’s polenta and I kind of think it’s better than a pie crust. It’s cheesy and creamy and works perfect with a topping of crispy bacon and jalapeños.
These are the perfect easy weeknight dinner and they are even packed with veggies, which is just an added bonus.
Plus, the veggies cancel out all the cheese, right?
Actually (and if you’re a regular reader I’m sure you’ve heard me say this before), in my book cheese is an important part of our diet. It’s good for your teeth and bones and it’s a great source of protein and calcium with plenty of essential nutrients and vitamins, such as zinc and vitamin B, which helps fight disease. It even contains Conjugated Linoleic Acid and Sphingolipids that help to prevent cancer. It certainly has its place in the food pyramid. Hey, everything in moderation.
Plus, yesterday we did kale (and more butternut – Oops!)!
Wait, and tomorrow is Friday!
Do this tonight…
Easy Jalapeno Chicken Chili and Cheddar Polenta Pot Pies
- 4-8 slices thick cut bacon
- 1 pound boneless chicken breast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 1 cup cubed butternut squash pumpkin or sweet potatoes
- 2 red peppers chopped
- 2 Jalapeño's seeded and chopped, plus more for garnish
- 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup black beans rinsed and drained if using canned
- green onions chopped, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Heat a 12-inch skillet or high sided pan over medium-high heat and cook bacon until crispy. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Remove all but one tablespoon of bacon fat from the pan and then add 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. When the oil begins to swirl, add the seasoned chicken and saute until cooked through, about 4 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the second side. Remove the chicken to a plate with tongs, leaving the oil in the pan. Rest the chicken for a few minutes, and then chop into 1/2-inch cubes or shred with your hands.
- To the same pan, add the butternut squash and onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir and cook until the butternut squash becomes tender, about 10 minutes. Add the red pepper and jalapeños and cook another 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, paprika, cumin and oregano, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute longer. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until the flour dissolves into the vegetables and juices. Add the chicken broth, tomato paste and hot sauce, raise to a simmer, stirring until thickened. Once the liquid has thickened, stir in the heavy cream and black beans. Season with salt if needed and stir the chicken back into the mixture.
- Spoon the mixture into 4-6 oven safe baking dishes or one 9 inch pie plate and place on baking sheet with sides.
- To make the polenta, pour the chicken broth and milk into a medium size saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and slowly whisk in the polenta. Cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta is soft and beginning to thicken, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in 4 ounces cheddar cheese and butter if using, season with salt and pepper. If the polenta seems a little thick you can add a tablespoon of butter or extra milk. Spoon the polenta over the pot pie filling and then top each pie with the remaining cheddar cheese.
- Place in the oven and bake until the polenta is golden and the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the reserved crumbled bacon and green onions. EAT!
So that tomorrow we can do dessert!