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Chicken Thighs with Apples, Onions and White Cheddar Polenta

Apples’ fresh taste blends well with bacon, chicken and herbs. Serve over cheesy polenta.


  • 8 slices smoked bacon
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil ( EVOO)
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 Liberty, Braeburn or other crisp apples, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, chopped
  • 7-8 sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, divided
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup apple brandy
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup quick-cooking polenta
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar


Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.

Arrange the bacon on a broiler pan and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the EVOO, a turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper; add to the skillet and cook, turning once, until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate

Add the butter to the skillet to melt. Add the apples, onion, thyme and sage. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook until the apples are crisp-tender, 5-6 minutes. Stir in about 1/2 cup chicken stock, the apple cider and the apple brandy. Add the chicken, coat with the sauce, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium size saucepan, bring the remaining 2 cups stock and the milk to a boil. Whisk in the polenta and cook, whisking constantly, until thick, 2-3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the cheese until melted. Serve on rimmed plates and top with the chicken, apples, onion and criss-crossed slices of bacon.

Rachael Ray