So you and your Valentine have kids who like to join in your favorite romantic holiday. Great! Here's a family-sized Valentine's Day meal that needs everyone's help to make this night special.
So you and your Valentine have kids who like to join in your favorite romantic holiday. Great! You can all show your love by cooking for each other. Keep the menu fairly simple, and divide the courses among your family members.
Starter: Hearts of Palm Salad is elegant but quite doable for a young kitchen hand. Canned hearts of palm, mixed greens, diced tomato, black olives and vinaigrette dressing are available at supermarkets.
Main event: The entrée requires knife skills and the stove, so grown-ups will work on Chicken Breasts with Rosemary-Cheese Polenta, served with bright vegetables.
Sweets for the sweets: Our finale is a delightful Chocolate-Strawberry Sundae. The ingredients can be found at supermarkets. Start by swirling a little chocolate syrup on a dessert plate. Arrange a chocolate brownie on the syrup, and crown the cake first with whipped cream and then a beautiful scoop of strawberry sorbet. Garnish with more whipped cream and syrup — really, can you have too much? — and finish with a dazzling strawberry and dots of strawberry jam.
Ingredients for polenta:
• 1 teaspoon and 1
• 3 cups chicken broth
• 1 ½ cups yellow cornmeal
or polenta, ground or prepared
• 1 tablespoon chopped
• ½ cup grated Parmesan
• Salt and pepper
Ingredients for chicken:
• ¾ cup flour
• 2 teaspoons salt, divided
• 1 teaspoon black pepper,
• 4 boneless, skinless
• 1 tablespoon unsalted
butter, more as needed
• 1 tablespoon canola oil,
more as needed
• 4 tablespoons finely sliced
green onion, white and
green parts (optional)
• 1 ¼ cups chicken broth,
• ½ cup medium-dry white
• Salt and pepper
1. The night before the dinner, prepare the polenta. Coat a 10 X 15-inch pan with 1 teaspoon butter; set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil. Add cornmeal a little at a time, stirring rapidly. Turn down the heat and let the cornmeal simmer, covered, stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens. Whisk rapidly to smooth out any lumps. Stir in remaining butter, rosemary and cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Spread the polenta into the prepared pan. Let it cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
4. For the chicken, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large pan, mix flour, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shake off the excess and set the pieces aside to dry.
5. Into a large skillet over medium heat, place butter and oil. Add floured chicken. Brown the pieces on each side. Add the remaining salt and pepper.
6. Add ¼ cup chicken broth and green onion, if using, to the skillet. Cover and move it into the oven to finish cooking (5 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces).
7. Use a cookie cutter to make polenta hearts. Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, and lightly fry the hearts. (Wrap and freeze extra polenta.)
8. Remove chicken from the oven. Keep the pieces warm on a separate plate. Set the skillet over medium heat. Add the wine, if using. While it sizzles, use a wooden spoon to scrape up browned bits from the skillet. Pour in remaining chicken broth. Let this mixture reduce by half (boil until reduced and thickened by evaporation).
9. Arrange polenta slices on each plate. Top with chicken. Spoon on sauce according to your taste.
Makes four servings.