“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles” ~Audrey Hepburn
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As far as weeks go, it's been a pretty good one
By day, I've been puttering around in the kitchen, cooking dinner, taking photos as the mood strikes. I cross items off the list. I take a spin class with a friend, who is far better at spinning than I, and never forgets her water bottle. Sometimes after class, we sit in the sauna, which of course, is very hot. Then we sit in the steam room, which of course, is very wet
I fall asleep at the library. I go to the movies with my husband, and we sit way up in the front
I talk with my son about herbs in the forest, the upward trajectory of life, Buzz Lightyear and Woody. I talk to my daughter about fuzzy pink snow boots, Montana snowstorms, noddles with butter and parmesan cheese
And I pass my evenings on the sofa with a highlighter, cookbooks, and a pack of Post-It flags, wrapped in my favorite blanket
Somewhere along the line, I decide I've earned something in the order of a treat.
I (or at least my husband) deserves a glass of bubbly, a cookie, and a few hours of jazz playing in the kitchen. With years of practice, I've learned what makes me happy, and although I don't surprise myself with flowers as often as I should, I'm getting better at anticipating and fulfilling my needs. After all, as my hairdresser (the woman who married us, btw) likes to say:
“Honey, you're always dating yourself”
As the afternoon winds down, a stop for the holy trinity of foodstuffs: a bottle of wine, good chocolate (dark for him, anything-but-dark for her), and butter. Coming home, I locate a proper wine glass, preheat the oven, and fire up Pandora. I retrieve from my teetering stack of recipes the one for chocolate chip hazelnut numbers I'd been wanting to try
I set to work. Somewhere between greasing the cookie sheet and creaming the butter, I poured myself another half glass of wine just as my husband and the puppies bounded through the door. By that time, I was officially distracted.
Half an hour later, I realized something was terribly amiss. There I was, mixing and thought “Huh, this butter is creaming with the eggs in the strangest of ways.” But I'd gone forth and even tasted the finished batter before forming the cookies, thinking
“I guess it's OK”
While washing the bowls and talking about our days, I realized I'd completely forgotten to add the sugar. Woops.
Apparently, the holy trinity wasn't a very cooperative team, or I simply may have been tired from one too many late nights. Either way, it was clearly time to focus on what was for dinner. Luckily, I'd planned ahead
There aren't may feeds I follow religiously, but Bon Appetit is one
Every day I find a new recipe, led off by a lusty description that makes me want to try it all the more. I love their recipes as well because usually, they're the kinds of dishes that don't take a lot of ingredients or time. We all need those sorts of meals every now and then
A week ago, I found myself laser-focused on honey garlic chicken thighs
A simple layered dish of polenta, 45 minute cook time, a sweet but flavorful sauce that's drizzled over the chicken just before you're ready to eat. It sounded like a holy trinity in its own right
With cheeks burning from the cookie failure and glass of wine (I'm such a light-weight), I opened the refrigerator and pulled from its cool belly some chicken thighs. I turned the oven up to 425, started a pot of water for the polenta (an easy task, perfect for restoring culinary confidence), grated a handful of Parmesan, and put the garlic in the toaster oven to roast
While the chicken baked and bubbled, I set the table and lit a candle
It was simple, it tasted like comfort food, and it was exactly what we needed on a cold winter's night. The cookies might have been unfortunate, but there was more wine if I dared, and I guarantee we won't be without chocolate in the cabinets ever again
~ Adapted from Bon Appetit
Honey Garlic Chicken with Cheesy Polenta
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup medium or fine cornmeal
- 1-2 Tbsp butter
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Honey Garlic Chicken
- 2 heads garlic
- 5-6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
- one bunch of scallions (~ 5 or 6)
- 4 Tbsp butter
- ½ cup honey
- Preheat the oven to 350° F
- In an oven-proof bowl, add one cup of cornmeal and water. (For firm polenta, use 4 cups water; for soft polenta, use 5 cups water)
- Add a strong pinch of kosher salt, a grind or two of black pepper, a tablespoon or two of butter, the Parmesan cheese, and give it a stir
- Cook 30 minutes and stir again
- Cook 15+ minutes, or until nearly all the liquid is absorbed and stir it again
- Roast the Garlic
- Preheat the oven to 425° F
- Wrap the heads of garlic together in aluminum foil and place them on a baking sheet
- Roast for ~ 30-35 minutes
- Honey-Garlic Chicken
- While the garlic roasts prep 5-6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- To maximize crispiness, pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, before seasoning the outsides with kosher salt, a few grinds of freshly cracked black pepper, and coat the skin sides with a little bit of olive oil
- Thinly slice the white ends of the scallions
- Slice the wider green ends and set them aside to be a garnish
- Heat an oven-proof skillet (cast-iron if you have it) over low to medium heat.
- Place the oil-coated skin sides of the chicken thighs down into the pan, and let them cook for ~ 5 minutes until the rendered fat from the chicken begins to cover the bottom of the pan
- Raise the heat to medium-high and readjust the chicken thighs so they're sitting in the fat
- Cook the skin side of the thighs until they're deeply browned and crispy (~ 10 minutes)
- Turn off the heat, flip the thighs onto their uncooked side, and throw in the sliced white ends of the scallions
- Take the roasted bulbs of garlic out of the oven and let them cool 5 or 10 minutes before squeezing the now-soft cloves into a bowl
- Mash the cloves into a paste with a spoon, and squeeze about ½ cup of honey over the top. Mix the two with a spoon.
- Spread the garlic-honey blend on top of the chicken thighs (which are still in the pan). Don’t go crazy. A light layer will do, and you'll need to save some for your pan sauce
- Throw the skillet into your oven (which is still at 425°), and cook the thighs until the honey caramelizes and the chicken is cooked through to 165° (~ 15 minutes)
- Move the thighs from the skillet onto a plate and place the skillet back on the stovetop over medium heat
- Garliky Pan Sauce
- Melt 3 -4 Tbsp of butter in the pan
- Add the remaining honey-garlic blend, along with a couple of glugs of white wine vinegar
- Stir to incorporate it all into a sauce and also to remove the crispy chicken bits from the bottom of the pan. (This will only take a couple of minutes, no need to bring this to a simmer)
- Finish and Serve
- Scoop some creamy polenta into a bowl, load up a chicken thigh, give the whole thing a nice spoonful of sauce.
- Top it all with pepper, flaky sea salt, and sliced green scallions
You never failed to entice my taste bud Ali. Gorgeous photos and tasty ingredients! I wish I have time this weekend to cook it. Thanks for sharing! Cheers!
Love the quote by Audrey Hepburn! And I don’t like dark chocolate either. The sugar incident reminds me of the first time I baked a pie as a tween. I was so excited to serve the pie to my family and when my dad took his first bite I could tell by the expression on his face that something was wrong. I had left out the sugar. Oops. We had a good laugh. The Honey Garlic Chicken looks amazing!
Chicken is the main protein I cook with so I am always on the lookout for new recipes! This one sounds amazing, I need to try it soon!!
This looks so good. I have not been successful with polenta in the past but I would try it again to go with this chicken. I make chicken about three times a week, so a new recipe is always welcome.
I think more of us need to date ourselves more often. I have had some great polenta dishes, I haven’t gotten close to mastering cooking it myself yet. Yours looks and sounds yummy.
The whole family would love the chicken. Wish I wasn’t the only one who likes polenta and especially cheese with it.
I am a huge fan of honey garlic chicken so this sounds like just my kind of dish. I can’t get over that you forgot sugar in the cookies though, your mind must have been elsewhere x
Honey garlic chicken is one of my favorite chicken dishes! This looks so yummy so I’ll be bookmarking it to make for my family soon!
My cabinets always have chocolate too 😉
This looks amazing. I just love garlic, so this is the kind of dish I’d scarf down.
Sounds like you had quite a satisfying week. I think this chicken is the perfect ending to a great week. It looks delicious.
Wow! This looks so yummy! I’m sure my girls would love this whole meal. We are recent vegetarians so I may just try the side dish and see how that goes 🙂
It’s 2 in the morning here in Sydney and this makes me super hungry! I would love to try this recipe especially if our oven is working and if my husband isn’t allergic to chicken haha.
Love your photos! This chicken looks so perfect, and I love a good cheesy polenta! Yum!!
Ow wow this looks delicious! I think my family would definitely like some honey garlic chicken. And the cheesy polenta looks tasty too!
Thank you so much for this recipe. I was looking for something to make for a casual Friday dinner party and this is IT! I have made so many of your recipes and positive this one won’t disappoint.
Many thank-yous from San Diego!
Sorry about the cookies – I’ve done that before. But it sounds like the chicken dish was just the comfort food you needed and it looks and sounds utterly delicious.
It sounds like you have had a nice week, I have to admit knowing my luck if I fell asleep library I would probably end up snoring really loudly.
Absolutely adore the Hepburn quote, it’s one of my favourite quotes 🙂 this does sound like winter comfort food, and I do like my chicken – but I don’t think I’ve ever eaten polenta (at least not knowingly). Is it something you use often? Xx
I have a subscription to Bon Appetit magazine and I really enjoy every single issue! This recipe looks really yummy, except cornmeal. I try to decrease corn in my diet, ’cause I have an allergy to it ( But I think I can use cuscus instead of corn.
Very great food photography! I feel like biting the pictures, lol. I believe in Audrey and your Honeyed Chicken 🙂
I love that life is laid back at the moment and there aren’t any storms to hurdle. It really is good. We all make those baking mistakes sometimes and it’s not something that we should be sad about, just another day in the kitchen! I think this honey garlic chicken with the cheesy polenta definitely made you feel SO much better. It would have made my day!
The chicken looks amazing, its gold and so well cooked, it resembles chef quality of fine dining. Believe it or not but I have never had the opportunity of trying polenta before but it sounds delicious.
I’m so glad I saw this recipe, we were looking for something tasty to have for dinner tonight as it’s ‘Indoor date night’ so I’m definitely going to make this x
I love some good tasty comfort food. I need to work off the calories though. A spin class looks like the ideal way to do so lol x
Yummy! Just in time for weekends. I have not try cornmeal before, maybe I can use rice instead? Will it be ok if I use chicken breasts instead of thighs?
Oh wow, this really does look fantastic! Chicken thighs are so overlooked and are the best for all those hearty winter dishes. They soak up flavor brilliantly without drying out! I had kind of forgotten about polenta, it’s delish so must get involved soon, ha!
I never knew honey and garlic would go so great with chicken together!
The chicken looks savory in the pictures!!
Thank you for sharing such a cozy recipe for this winter! Hope your days stay as warm as your recipe! All the love!
Chicken is the main type of food I serve. From chicken legs for the kids to chicken thighs and breasts for adults, it’s something on my food menu each week. This would be a nice meal for me to sneak in on a weekend. I can always use new ways to spice up chicken lol!
The honey garlic chicken sounds absolutely divine, I’ve not tried polenta before but the sound of adding it with cheese sounds great. A real winter meal and one I shall be adding to the meal plan.
I have never tried making polenta, I only see it on food network being done so I am afraid to try. The chicken looks delicious!
It sounds like your week went a little better than mine. I can only imagine how that batch tasted without the sugar. I’ve forgotten the eggs when making cornbread before, it tasted terrible. I almost did it the second time around too, thankfully, I caught it before I baked it so it was saved.
Your cooking mishap sounds a lot like one I had just the other day. I think my mind was somewhere else completely forgetting I needed to remember ingredients.
This might sound funny but the only time i have had polenta is at special events and galas! I love it but I have never thought to make my own. I think I need to check out this recipe.
Never tried Polenta,but have omitted sugar. Actually, did worse than that. Put in salt instead of sugar. Not the yummiest of Eggnogs to be sure! BB2U
I just defrosted some chicken thighs. I’m ready to try this out tomorrow coz’ my girls need something new. I think they’ll love the honey in it. Thanks for sharing. I’ve never tried polenta though, will have to buy the ingredients for it.
This is true comfort food. My family loves Orange chicken and Honey Garlic chicken. I will try your recipe version and I am positive my family will give it a thumbs up! The cheesy polenta is the perfect side!
Honey and garlic go so well with chicken! I’m excited to give it a try with the kids tonight. They always love to hang around while I am cooking in the kitchen. It’s fun to have them there to sample things as I cook or just to chat with or just have them doing their homework at the island. The kitchen is the place to be between the hours of 4:00 and 6:00 at our house.
This looks delicious. I haven’t been to a spin class before but Ive heard people raving about it. I cant remember the last time my partner and I went to the movies, we need to rectify that x
It sounds like you’ve had a good week. We definitely all need to take time for ourselves and your hairdresser is right, we are always dating ourselves. I love polenta but have only ever had it deep fried as “chips” so will definitely try your recipe soon.
I made this tonight and it turned out beautifully! My whole family loved it and afterward, I heard exclamations of delight that no one felt overly full or weighed-down. I stuck pretty close to the recipe, and as always, it was a hit!
It sounds like you’ve had a lovely week! This looks absolutely delicious, `I love honey and garlic, it’s the perfect combination! Oh and I am totally a light weight too!
Oh my goodness, this sounds like a heavenly meal! Absolutely ideal for cold weather – which we have here in Maine right now, down into single digits again. I tend to only get boneless, skinless, chicken BREASTS because my hubby prefers the white meat, but I might just try this one with the thighs instead. I love the flavor of honey and garlic together, so this sounds like a winning combination. Love your writing style, too!
I love chicken and this garlic chicken with cheesy polenta looks divine! Just by looking at your pictures, it makes me hungry! The combination of honey and garlic sounds yum and this recipe looks perfect for the winter night!
I love your photos, made me want to go try the recipe straight away. I had a similar cookie fail recently, I accidentally put in two tablespoons of bicarb in instead of two teaspoons.
I couldn’t help but giggle at your mishap with the cookies, as something so silly like that happens to me more often than I’d like to admit (and that’s without drinking any wine lol). I’d say this chicken dish is the perfect way to end a great week! You already know I’m chicken chicken everywhere, everyday! I must try this recipe as well. Thank you! ❤
I’ve never had polenta before, it looks intriguing, I’d love to give it a go. Omg though, that chicken looks divine!
Oh polenta is just so comforting and I am always looking for new ways to eat it apart from making fries. I am going to have to try this for our next comfort food meal.
This looks and sounds MOUTHWATERING! I have never really been a huge polenta fan but I would totally try this. H x
To be honest, I haven’t tried this dish yet, It looks interesting and yummy – especially I prefer chicken over all other meat. Thanks for sharing, I will try this one of these days.
First off, wine with cooking is a must! Second, polenta is one of my most favorite dishes! Do you find that you can cook it in a rush? It always clumps for me.
This is one of the best recipes I have seen lately, everything I love, chicken, cheese and then the combination of honey garlic chicken, heaven!
Very well written, loved your time management while cooking, from the pictures I can make out how delicious this dish would have turned out.
Happy girls are the prettiest. I absolutely love that! And I totally agree with your hairdresser, you are always dating yourself so why not surprise yourself with flowers more often? Go for it girl!
Delicious recipe too! Anything with garlic and I’m sold!
Sounds like you had a pretty good week. Blankets, wine and recipe books. What’s not to love!
Another amazing dish! I’ve always wanted to try polenta at home and I think this would restore my confidence in cooking savoury food too. Forget about those boo cookies, perhaps they’re meant to be sugar-free? 🙂 Have a wonderful week!
I love the way you write it really brings out the life behind the recipe, also I love polenta, it is one of my favourite things but I rarely make it. I am going to have to try this one, it sound like the most stunning family meal.
Oh, How did it taste without sugar, well its better to go without sugar sometimes, to cut off those calories;). The quote by Audrey Hepburn was so apt and beautifully narrated. Honey Garlic chicken, I’m sure is a great winter food and I’m gonna replicate your recipe without chicken, but with paneer /potato in it and try out on weekends, as winters are getting harsher. I think I would add sesame seeds to it also.
Looks simply AMAZING Ali! I love a honey garlic chicken and this one looks intense. I’ve had nights like that where you are so excited to try a new recipe only to have it not turn out the way you had envisioned and have it take way more time to throw together than you originally estimated. Luckily we have a grocery store in walking distance from our house that one of us can run over to if dinner turns into a mishap or I need a last minute ingredient.
Oh hello. HELLO. As I type it’s 9:30 am EST, and I don’t even care that it’s still morning, I would very much like to eat this honey garlic chicken for breakfast. And then again for lunch. And then for dinner. With seconds.
Delicious. I just may have to make this happen, as always, you’re so inspiring!
Forgetting to add the sugar is hillarious! But your evening sounds amazing. I really should date myself sometime! This recipe sounds delicious, I like polenta and I think my kids would eat this too.
I totally agree with what your hairdresser said about dating yourself. I had lived alone for many years before meeting my husband. So technically I was dating myself and I learnt the exact ways to pamper and please myself. However, now that I am married I know how to please others too, and this is one dish I can totally pamper my husband with! Plus it looks pretty simple too. Thanks for sharing Alison 🙂
Chocolate is life. Or something approximating life anyway. Cannot live without it. Like oxygen. It really does sound like it was a good week, even if the cookie recipe didn’t quite work out the way you would have wanted. You got good wine and good jazz, which sounds like a perfect combination. As for the chicken it does look like it turned out delicious. I have done a few Bon Appetit recipes in the past. Some have turned out marvelously. Others might have been ok, but I just didn’t like them much. (I’m still not a stuffing fan during thanksgiving.) This looks like a recipe I would love to try. Hope next week you get some good cookies to go with the wine and jazz. 😉
Loved this one Alison as much for the fact that you are humble and human enough to admit in your post that you make mistakes too when it comes to the making and preparing of food. Forgetting the sugar from the cookie recipe is very much like something I would do…LOL! The other thought that struck me in this post was your hairdressers advise to you (and its cool that she married you and your hubby too) “You are always dating yourself”!.. Its a great piece of advice and she is so right… Be kind to yourself today XKathryn
Fabulous recipe and you do a swell job with your pictures. I love close-ups of food pictures without any frills. Bookmarking this!
Your pictures are always wonderful. They look like they are from some top hotel.? I would love to try honey garlic chicken and I think my husband would love it. I cook polenta often, but not in the oven. I’ve also never tried it with cheese and it looks delicious. Definitely going to try it.
I always good new ideas for dishes when I read your blog…i’m also always left feeling hungry! I’m glad you had a good week. Don’t worry about the cookies, this dish sure made up for that! Yummy!
I am not nearly as eloquent as some of the other commenters. All I can do is echo their lovely writing and sentiment. Where ever your journey is taking you, please accept my heartfelt well wishes along with my hope (and fingers crossed) that you’re happy and well. xo
Boy would I give anything to try that. For a second there, I actually thought it was grit. Great post! Xoxo
Wow! This sounds and looks delicious. I don’t think I’ve ever tried polenta before… Adding this recipe to my list for dinners!
That chicken looks incredibly delicious! I’ve never had polenta, and didn’t think it was so easy to make. I am definitely going to give this recipe a try. Thank you for sharing.
I love that other the years you have learned what makes you happy and regaled us with a charming tale of your hairdresser being the same person who married you. She must be a dear friend I am guessing? Also when it comes to polenta I like the taste of it but I am not the worlds best cook, so I need someone who can adapt your cheesy polenta recipe and make it for me!
I should never look at your recipes before dinner. Absolutely mouth watering. I wish I was more adventurous in the kitchen. I’m getting there though. Slowly but surely. I think forgetting the sugar in the cookies is fine, it could’ve been a lot worse! Lol.
Wine always fixes everything! 😉 This recipe looks delicious! Your photos make me want to try this for tonight’s dinner.
Dude! This looks fantastic! Trying to get my mom to start eating healthier and this is right up her alley. Sending to her for sure. Thanks 🙂
amazing! this Chicken is amazing. I love chicken and garlic together and addition of cheese makes it winter comfort.
That looks absolutely delicious. Your photography really makes it seem mouthwatering. I may have to have some polenta for dinner!
Back to my home country Romania, we have polenta with most of our traditional meals and I miss it a lot. Here in the UK, I am happy to find it in the Polish shops and even if I go home I will bring some with me. The recipe sounds so tasty, I have bookmarked and hopefully, I can give it a try.
As usual you gave me some great tips for my dinner of night! I have polenta and I’m quite good with it. I’ll make some small changes for my veg version but my mate will appreciate the full complete version of your recipe
Sauna after spin class sounds divine. I have not done either. I will have to try those!
Even with the sugarless cookies or one too many glasses of wine, you’re still a catch. Most people who are dating themselves would have just ordered pizza!
Mmmmm…why does polenta make everything better in the cold months? The coating on your chicken is perfection. I will be making this one for sure!
This sounds so incredibly scrumptious that I am scrapping tonight’s dinner plans in favor of this recipe. We do love honey garlic chicken! xo
Thanks for sharing this recipe. And as always Ali, your writing is so enjoyable. Today it’s supposed to be twenty-some-odd degrees, windy and grey here on the East Coast. A perfect day for polenta with baked chicken in a honey garlic sauce. Not only for eating but also for reading about. Thank you! Best, Ann
Long time lurker, but had to come out of the woodwork for this one. It caught my eye on Instagram too when Bon Appetit posted the photo. It sounds absolutely fantastic and I might just have to make it tonight.
One of my close friends loves honey garlic chicken and she is coming over this weekend. I know she never had polenta and I think I will make it for her. Now, what wine would be the best option, I wonder??
This was delicious and I will definitely make it again. Some of the cook times were a little off for me and the garlic did not turn out as I had hoped. Next time I will cut off the tops of the bulbs and brush them with oil before roasting them and add about 10 minutes to the cook time. I would also probably cook the polenta on the stovetop to better keep an eye on it.
I just made this tonight!!! It was sooooooooo delicious!!! I was unsure as I was making it if it would all come together…so glad I kept going! We gobbled this up and so happy I stumbled upon this one! #willmakeagain #garlicbreathforeveryone
Horray! Thank you soooo much for taking a minute to let me know. 🙂
I made this tonight and it was AMAZING. Your instructions are long but I followed them perfectly and the end result was just as you describe. My husband and I felt like we were eating at a fancy restaurant