Friday, October 27, 2017

Fall Polenta Bowls with Pumpkin-Seed Crusted Chicken

This post is sponsored by Wheatsville Food Co-op.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I've worn a cardigan two mornings in a row....and even though I've had to shift to A/C on my commute home each day....I'm calling it; I think it's Texas Fall y'all!  Which means my meals are shifting towards winter squash, pomegranate seeds, soups & all the sweet potatoes I can manage.

These cheesy, creamy polenta bowls are overflowing with warm, roasted seasonal veggies, & finished off with a sweet zing from pomegranate seeds; one of my favorite ways to add a bit of fall to any dish.  Pumpkin seed & tortilla chip covered chicken bites round out the bowl & I really love how they turned out.  Just a bit crunchy & even though they are oven baked, there was no soggy breading to be found.  And to season everything, I used fresh thyme.  Fresh herbs have become such a go-to in my kitchen.  I love the earthiness & flavor they add to dishes.

When I was creating this recipe, I wanted to make it quick enough for a weeknight, so I decided to cook everything but the polenta on a sheet pan.  Wow, there's really something to sheet pan dinners.  Chop everything, including the chicken, into small pieces & everything is on the table in about 30 minutes.  Hard to beat.  

One of my favorite places to get delicious, often local, mostly organic, fall veggies is Wheatsville Food Co-op.  They always have a super fresh selection of produce & I just feel healthier when I step inside.  You really can't get any more 'Austin' than Wheatsville.  They are the only retail food co-op in Texas & opened their doors in the Capital City in 1976, with a focus on local, organic, sustainable food options.

Last week, Andrew & I popped in to the South Lamar Wheatsville location with a mission:  polenta bowls topped with as many roasted, seasonal veggies as I could.  Pumpkin-seed crusted chicken bites were also on the menu.  We've been wanting to try making our own breaded chicken for a while & I thought it would pair well with the fall produce & comforting, Parmesan filled polenta.

Wheatsville had a ton of ripe fall produce that we quickly added to our cart, along with a package of pre-marinated chicken breast.  I thought the Wheatsville Chipotle Garlic & Honey Marinated Chicken Breast would go perfectly with the pumpkin seed/tortilla chip crust I was planning.  Bingo!  The slight spice from the chipotle & the sweet honey made for a super moist, flavor-packed bite.  And I love that Wheatsville has these marinated packages ready to go.  We're not great about remembering to marinate, but it's an important step to getting tender, tasty meat.  They made it easy.

We then stopped by the bulk isle & grabbed some polenta & pumpkin seeds.  Bulk bins are my favorite, because you can get just the right amount for a meal.  And the prices are usually much better than what you can get in a package!  Millagro tortilla chips, made right here in Austin, also went in the cart.  I  blended them with the pumpkin seeds & they added just the right pop of crunch to the chicken bites.


I'm giving away a $30 giftcard to Wheastville Food Co-op over on my instagram account (@homemadeaustin).  Head over any time before Monday, October 30th at 10pm &, look for the photo that says Wheatsville Contest! on it to enter to win!

Fall Polenta Bowls with Pumpkin-Seed Crusted Chicken

1 package (2 breasts) Wheatsville Chipotle Garlic & Honey Marinated Chicken Breast, diced into 1 inch pieces
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
salt & pepper
2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 cups tortilla chips (I recommend local favorite El Milagro, available at Wheatsville)

1 small butternut squash, peeled & diced into small pieces, about 1/2 inch
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
2 purple sweet potatoes, peeled & diced into small pieces, about 1/2 inch
1 large handful fresh green beans, trimmed & diced into small pieces, about 1/2 inch
1 bunch fresh thyme
4 teaspoons olive oil
salt & pepper

2 cups cooked polenta, prepared according to package directions
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
salt & pepper

1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds

Boil water or stock for polenta, turn oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a large sheet pan.

Dice chicken, & create a dredging station.  In one bowl, beat eggs, milk, salt, pepper & a few fresh thyme sprigs, stems removed.  Grind together pumpkin seeds & tortilla chips using a food processor, then pour into a separate bowl.  Season with salt & pepper.  Dredge chicken in egg mixture, then seed/chip mixture, making sure to cover each piece fully in crumbs.  Transfer each piece to the sheet pan, keeping them all in the middle.

Dice all veggies, then toss with olive oil, fresh thyme, salt & pepper.  Arrange on sheet pan. Note: you can toss each vegetable with olive oil, spices & herbs & arrange separately, or mix them all together.

Bake veggies & chicken until chicken is completely cooked through, 25-35 minutes.  Cook polenta according to package directions.  Once cooked, whisk in butter, Parmesan, salt & pepper.

Spoon polenta into bowls, then arrange chicken & veggies on top.  Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Wheatsville Food Co-op

3101 Guadalupe
Austin, TX 78705
Open Daily, 7:30am - 11pm

4001 S. Lamar
Austin, TX 78704
Open Daily, 7:30am - 11pm