Mom’s Chicken Florentine with Creamy Roasted Garlic Polenta.
Or well, my version of Mom’s Chicken Florentine.
Because I couldn’t possibly NOT mess with a recipe.
Like I clearly do not know how to do that.
But I only made it easier, and added some polenta, other than that, all the ingredients and flavors are 100% the same!
Growing up, this was my favorite dish that my mom made. Granted my mom didn’t make a whole lot of dinners, desserts were more her thing, dinner was my dad’s. Anyway, Chicken Florentine was my mom’s specialty dish. She only made it every so often, but when she did, it was the best. Everyone loved it. Well, actually now that I think of it, my brothers never ate it, you know, the whole spinach thing, didn’t work for them. So I guess that really just leaves mom, dad and me. Ok, so the three of us loved it.
That works too.
The original recipe made you do all this extra work, like baking the chicken in the oven first, then making the cream sauce and then layering the chicken, spinach and sauce. Basically, it was three pans and too much work for such a simple dish.
So, what I did was sear the chicken in an oven safe skillet, make the sauce in the very same skillet and then add the chicken right back into the sauce. Then I stirred in the spinach and called it a day. This way only uses one pan and takes about twenty minutes. Then just bake it in the oven for another twenty or so minutes and done! Same awesome flavors, creamy-ness and taste, just um…simpler! Which I kind of love.
I don’t really remember my mom serving the Chicken Florentine over anything, but to me, there needs to be something there to soak up all the delicious cream sauce. Normally I just go for pasta, but then it’s kind of like fettuccine (but better), but then when I was out hiking (which always gets me thinking), the idea popped into my head to serve the Chicken Florentine over some creamy Italian polenta.
I feel like polenta is good with just about anything, so I went with it. AND I added some roasted garlic because of all the health benefits (right)…Duh.
And then that’s kind of it. Pretty simple, but so perfect for these cold winter days and even into spring when you get those rainy, cold days. Which if you ask me, well, I’d rather have the snow than rain.
My lucky younger brother is spending the next two weeks in Monmouth, CA for a snowboard competitions. He says it sunny and 50 degrees there. Can you say, livin’ the life? Ya, I think so.
Mom's Chicken Florentine with Creamy Roasted Garlic Polenta.
- 1 pound boneless chicken tenders or breasts about 4 breasts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- juice of half a lemon
- 2 ounce containers frozen spinach de-thawed + squeezed dry, 12
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt + pepper
- 1 egg yolk
- 3/4 cup parmesan cheese plus more for topping
- 1/3 cup parsley chopped + more for serving
Roasted Garlic Polenta
- 1 head garlic
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup polenta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Chop off the top portion of the garlic head to reveal cloves. Peel any excess paper/skin off from the bulb of garlic. Place the cloves onto a piece of tin foil and pour about a teaspoon of olive oil on top. Cover with the foil. Place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes, or until the garlic is golden brown and soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool five minutes. Squeeze the garlic out of the paper skin into a bowl and mash well with a fork.
- Meanwhile, heat a large oven safe brasier or sided skillet over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, once hot, add the chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Sear on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Remove and place on a plate. Drizzle with lemon juice.
- To the same pan, add the butter. Once melted add the flour and whisk for about 1 minute or until bubbly. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking as you add the milk. Stir in the cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil. Place the egg yolk in a small bowl and whisk in about 1/3 cup of the warm milk mixture. Whisk the egg yolk mixture into cream sauce until smooth. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese.
- Add the chicken and thawed spinach to the sauce. Make sure the chicken is immersed in the sauce. Sprinkle the top of the dish with grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Place in the preheated 400 degree oven for 20-15 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
- While the florentine bakes, make the polenta. Pour the water 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 thick, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in as much of the mashed roasted garlic as desired, season with salt and pepper. If the polenta seems a little thick you can add a tablespoon more of butter or milk to thin it.
- When the florentine is done cooking, divide the polenta among plates and top each with a piece of chicken and cream sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley and parmesan. Enjoy!!
Ok, but let’s be serious. That’s a dreamy plate of food right there.