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X Italian Rice and Polenta Dishes
chicken with polenta
Chicken with Polenta
Originated from: Italy
Occasion: Any time
Contributed by: Taken from "Simple Italian Cookery," by Antonia Isola (Harper and Brothers, 1912)

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For polenta
3/4 of a cup of yellow Indian meal (fine)
3 cups of water

For chicken
A small chicken (or pigeon)
A slice of ham fat or a tablespoon of lard
One-half an onion
A small carrot
A piece of celery
Salt and pepper
A pinch of allspice
One-third of a glass of red or white wine
One tablespoon of tomato paste
Grated cheese


For Polenta

"Put the water into a granite or iron saucepan, add salt. When it begins to boil add the Indian meal, little by little. Keep stirring constantly as you pour it in, to prevent lumps. Boil for one-half hour, stirring constantly over a moderate fire. If desired, a little more water may be added if preferred not so thick.

For Chicken

"Take a small chicken; clean and prepare it. Take a slice of ham fat four fingers wide and one finger long (or one tablespoon of good lard). Chop up very fine with a chopping knife, and put into a good-sized saucepan. Take one-half an onion, a small carrot, a piece of celery, and cut all into very small pieces and add them all to the fat. Then put in the chicken, the salt, pepper, and a pinch of allspice, and cover the saucepan. Cook until the chicken is covered, basting with the grease, and turning the chicken until it is brown on all sides; then add one-third of a glass of red or white wine. When the wine has become absorbed, add one tablespoon of the tomato paste, dissolved in a cup of hot water (or a cup of tomato sauce not too thick). Cook for a few moments more ? until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Prepare the Indian meal as in recipe for Indian meal, and serve the chicken surrounded by the Indian meal, with the sauce poured over all and grated cheese sprinkled over the Indian meal. Pigeon may be prepared in the same way as the chicken and served with the Indian meal; or either one may be served instead of the Indian meal with rice, as in recipe for Risotto alla Nostrale; Macaroni, as in recipe for Macaroni with Butter, or Ribbon Macaroni, as in receipt given."


This recipe was taken from "Simple Italian Cookery" written by Antonia Isola (pen name for Mabel Earl McGinnis). It was published in the United States by Harper and Brothers in 1912. It is believed to be the first American cookbook that contains Italian recipes. For the complete copyright-free cookbook see www.archive.org. A variety of recipes from this cookbook can also be found on this website.... Photo: Mary Melfi.

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