Today, we make a long overdue return to Double-Decker Dinners! This pressure-cooker recipe theme is all about finding the right combination of foods that compliment each other to round out a satisfying meal, and also happen to harmoniously take the same amount of time to cook together in my Instant Pot. This challenge never fails to pique my culinary imagination, so stay tuned – more experiments are in the works.
Last time, we paired coq au vin with garlic mashed potatoes. Today’s recipe is in some ways very similar (oops – I couldn’t help myself, cold weather just makes me want to cook savory stews with chicken, mushrooms and wine) – but we’re taking our stew from France to Italy for a classic chicken marsala. I love the flavor that slightly sweet, strongly fortified marsala wine infuses into earthy mushrooms.
But, the real fun in this Double-Decker Dinner is our pairing: polenta! I use a “pot-in-pot” method – meaning that I nestle a glass bowl with my polenta fixings right on top of the stew before closing up for pressure cooking. When I open the lid, both layers are done! I finish off the creamy polenta by running a whisk through it, and spiking it with a handful of shaved Parmesan cheese, for delicious melty bites throughout. It’s one-pot wonderful.
[Instant Pot] Double-Decker Chicken Marsala + Parmesan Polenta
For the Chicken Marsala:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 portions boneless/skinless chicken thighs
- 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 1/3 cup marsala wine
- 2/3 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
For the Parmesan Polenta:
- 1 cup dry polenta cornmeal
- 2 1/2 cups broth or water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to Instant Pot’s inner liner, and press the ‘Saute’ button to begin cooking at medium saute heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then when the cooker is hot, add them to the oil. If your chicken pieces are large, it may be necessary to cook them in batches to avoid crowding the pan. Brown the chicken pieces well on both sides, then set aside.After removing the chicken, add the onions to the cooker and saute until they begin to soften and turn translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and mushrooms and saute, stirring occasionally, until they soften. Add the marsala wine, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pot to deglaze, and continue cooking on Saute Mode until the wine is reduced by half. Add the broth and salt, then add the browned chicken back into the stew (along with any juices that settled on the plate).Choose a vessel for “pot-in-pot” cooking of the polenta that is oven-safe and with at least 4 cups capacity (Pyrex bowls work very well). In your vessel, combine dry polenta, broth (or water), salt and butter, then place the open vessel atop the chicken stew. Cover the pressure cooker with the lid, ensuring that the valve is in sealing position, and cook under high pressure for 15 minutes (with Instant Pot, press ‘Cancel’ to stop saute mode before closing the lid, then press ‘Manual’ and “-” to select 15 minutes).When the cooking time is up, allow at least 10 minutes for the pressure to release naturally. Open the lid and carefully (very carefully! The bowl can become oily/slippery) remove the bowl of cooked polenta using your oven-mitted hands. Finish the marsala sauce by gently whisking in the last 1 tablespoon of butter. Finish the polenta by whisking to a smooth texture, and stirring in the shaved Parmesan cheese. Season both the polenta and stew to taste, and serve both topped with fresh parsley.