Tomato and Mushroom Cognac Chicken with Crunchy Garlic Polenta

Posted on : March 12th, 2019

Cognac Chicken with Crunchy Herbed Polenta

I love chicken dinners. It can be comfort food, especially in winter, simply broiled or fried with string beans and mashed potatoes. Or it can be the jumping off place for something truly inspired. Today’s recipe could be both! It is fancy enough for a special dinner but so easy to make, you might just decide to make it part of your regular dinner repertoire.

This recipe features boneless chicken breasts and chopped roasted almonds. And it’s flavored with wine and cognac, herbs and garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms and green peppers. Your guests will be impressed—just don’t tell them how fast and easy it is to do!

What should you serve with it?

Polenta! It’s one of my favorite comfort foods: creamy cornmeal porridge. It’s similar to Southern grits—and you can eat it just like that—but you could also pour it into a loaf pan, let it cool, slice it, and fry it in butter or olive oil and use it in a wide variety of ways. I like to make a chunky tomato sauce with zucchini and mushrooms and spoon it over the slices. It’s a great alternative to pasta and can even be used instead of noodles in an otherwise traditional lasagna. In the old days it was slow-cooked for hours—and you can still do that in a crockpot.

But, true to form, the recipe I’m sharing today is a lot quicker than that because it uses quick-cooking cornmeal or polenta. It’s flavorful because it uses garlic, thyme and parmesan cheese. And it’s crunchy because it’s an almond-lover’s dish, too. Put the chicken combo right on top. It’s delicious!

Tomato and Mushroom Cognac Chicken


  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. marjoram
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Minced 1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 Tbs. cognac
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. grated orange peel
  • 1/2 cup whole roasted almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Crunchy Herbed Polenta (see below)


  1. Brown the chicken in olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Remove from pan and put aside.
  2. Stir in onions, rosemary and marjoram; cook 2 minutes, until onions are soft.
  3. Stir in wine, garlic, mushrooms and tomatoes. Cook, covered, for about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in green bell peppers and top with reserved chicken breasts. Cook, covered, 3-5 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
  5. Remove chicken breasts again and keep warm.
  6. Mix together cognac and cornstarch; stir into the vegetable mixture. Cook 1 minute, until sauce boils and thickens. Stir in orange peel, almonds and parsley.
  7. Spoon Crunchy Herbed Polenta onto each of 4 serving plates. Top with chicken breasts. Spoon vegetable mixture and sauce over chicken to serve.

Crunchy Herbed Polenta


  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 3/4 cup quick-cook cornmeal or polenta
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted natural almonds


  1. Bring milk, water, garlic and thyme to a boil over medium heat. 
  2. Stir in cornmeal; cook 2 minutes. 
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients and serve at once.

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