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Charred Chicken with Spring Vegetables and Grilled Polenta

I have a real love of polenta, whether as a substitute for mashed potato, in cakes to add a crumbly texture or as a set block and then sliced and grilled or fried like in this recipe! It has very little flavour itself with makes it incredibly versatile and its a complex carbohydrate so it keeps you fuller for longer.

This is a great dish to celebrate the beautiful spring vegetables that are in season now so take advantage whilst they are at their best.



750ml veg/chicken stock

180g polenta

100g parmesan, grated

3 springs of rosemary, picked

2 garlic cloves

1 tbsp herbs de Provence or other mixed dried herbs


2 leeks or 4 baby leeks if you can get them

180g asparagus, woody ends trimmed

250g baby spinach, washed

200g frozen peas

Juice of 1 lemon

30g unsalted butter



600g boneless and skinless chicken thighs

2 tsp mace

1 1/5 tsp garlic powder

Salt and pepper

3 tbsp rapeseed oil

50g sliced pancetta


  1. The day before you want to serve this dish, make the polenta; start by heating the stock in a large sauce pan. Finely chop the rosemary leaves and crush or better yet, grate the garlic, I use a medium microplane like this one. Once the stock is hot, slowly pour the polenta into the pan, stirring all the time to prevent lumps. Lower the heat to prevent too much spluttering and allow the polenta to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the herbs, garlic and parmesan. Line a deep baking tray with parchment and pour the polenta in and smooth out to the edges. Allow to cool at room temperature for half an hour and then transfer to the fridge to set overnight.

  2. For the chicken thighs, combine mace, garlic powder, seasoning and oil in a medium bowl. On a large piece of parchment paper and on one half lay out the chicken, fold the paper over the chicken and using a rolling pin or meat tenderiser bash the chicken to flatten out. Mix the chicken with the oil and spices and leave to marinade for at least two hours or overnight.

  3. Slice the polenta into squares and set aside, ready to grill. To prepare the vegetable medley, slice the leeks into rounds and add to large pan on a low/medium heat along with the butter. Cook the leeks for around 10 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent burning. Whilst you are doing this, grill the pancetta until beautifully crisp and set aside until you assemble the dish. When the leeks are softened nicely, add the spinach to the same pan and cook until its wilted. Heat the oven to 160C.

  4. To cook the chicken, heat a griddle pan on a high heat until almost smoking. Cook the chicken thighs on the hot griddle on both sides until you have a crisp exterior, you may have to work in batches for this, you want the meat to have enough space for maximum contact. Transfer the chicken on a baking tray to the oven to finish cooking and stay warm.

  5. Working quickly now, turn the heat up on the leek pan and add the frozen peas. Lightly oil the polenta and cook, in batches again, on the hot griddle pan until you have those wonderful grill lines and set aside. Now add the asparagus spears, the lemon juice and the seasoning to the leek pan and cook it all for 3 minutes until the asparagus is just tender.

  6. To serve, you can either plate it up individually or on one big dish and let everyone help themselves, I love this style of dining personally. Start with the lovely spring vegetables, then the grilled polenta and top with the crispy chicken and pancetta. Its truly a delicious, comforting and balanced meal that everyone will love.



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I am always in the kitchen creating and tweaking recipes, its pretty much my favourite thing to do! 

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