Kendra Valentine, Recipe whisperer: B.W.I.E 10th Anniversary Shero
Black Women in Europe Blog™ 10th Anniversary notes:
I picked Kendra Valentine to be a Black Women in Europe Blog™ 10th Anniversary Shero because of her sheer and complete love of food. Beyond her love of food she’s obsessed with creating unique flavor combinations and inventive spice delivery techniques. All the while enhancing the experience of fellowship with friends and family and nourishing the body and mind. I first blogged about Kendra in July 2011. I’ve certainly enjoyed several meals with Kendra some that were homemade and others that we were served. Each were mindfully enjoyed and that’s what Kendra’s anniversary gift brings to us: her mindful creation of a recipe meant to be shared with those we love.
Bon appetite Kendra! Your recipe has me licking my lips in anticipation. Yum.
Braised Chicken Thighs with Cannelleni Beans & Kale on Spicy Polenta Cake
|Meal type||Main Dish|
|By author||Kendra Valentine|
- 6 chicken thighs (bone-in and skin-on)
- 1 can cannelleni beans
- 2 cups chopped kale (packed)
- 1 small yellow onion (diced)
- 1 clove garlic (diced)
- 1 leaf bay
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 can cherry tomatoes
- 1.5 cups red wine (or just chicken broth)
- 1 splash red wine vinegar
- 0.5 teaspoon thyme
- 0.5 teaspoon oregano
- sprinkle salt
- sprinkle black pepper
- parsley or fresh herbs for plating
- 2 cups yellow cornmeal
- 1 Small red chili (diced)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups water (boiling)
- oil (for frying)
I wanted to develop a dish that expressed the underlying culinary roots shared by black women throughout the African diaspora. While at the same time highlighting common cooking techniques shared with Europe, as well as by using ingredients more readily available in Europe. Thus, collards have become kale, red beans are traded for cannellini, and coarse cornmeal for refined polenta: to create a dish that is equal parts comfort and celebration to honor the 10th Anniversary of BWIE.
Vegetarian substitute for chicken: eggplant & chickpeas.
|First, go ahead and brown the chicken thighs in a little oil… you’re not cooking them through just browning the outside… then set aside. Turn on the oven to heat up (200 C or 350 F)|
|Into the same roasting pot or Dutch oven (be sure you have oil left) we are going to start the braise with softening the onion and garlic. Also, add your bay leaves and go ahead and cook that down on medium heat until the onion is soft. |
|Next, add in a splash of vinegar… it will sizzle and release all the nice brown bits stuck to the pan… that helps get more delicious into the chicken!|
|Add in a nob of tomato paste and your herbs and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper (I like to salt in stages.)|
|Next, add in the chicken broth and red wine… it helps to break down the meat and gives great flavor. You could just use water or chicken broth as well. Also add in the canned cherry tomatoes and another sprinkle of salt.|
|Finally, add the chicken back to the pot, skin side up, and let that heat up to a nice simmer, then turn the heat down to medium low simmer and cover. All but the very tops of the chicken thighs should be covered in liquid.|
|Transfer to the oven, and after 30 min or so it will soften up…|
|Next, add in the chopped kale and beans. Try to get in beneath the chicken thighs, so it can cook in the liquid. Add a splash of water if needed. Salt to taste. Return to oven.|
|After 15 min., to finish off the thighs, open the pot and let the dish broil under high top heat for a few minutes until golden.|
|For the spicy polenta cakes: |
(Tip: Get your mix done while the chicken is braising. When you are browning the thighs at the last step, start frying your cakes.)
|Heat enough oil in a skillet or heavy bottom skillet on high heat. Oil should come up 1/3 up the side of the pan.|
|In a bowl, mix together polenta, salt, and diced chilies. Stir in enough boiling hot water so that the mixture comes together into a smooth batter. Creamy yet firm enough to form into a small patty.|
|Once the oil in the skillet is hot, spoon mixture into hands to form patty then gently place in the hot oil. Fry on each side until crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towels.|
|To plate: |
Place a polenta cake on the plate and then top with the braised kale & cannelleni and juices (that polenta cake will sop it up!). Place a chicken thigh directly on top, and finish with a sprinkle of olive oil and chopped parsley or other fresh herb you have on hand. Enjoy with a bold red wine!
Kendra Valentine is an American expat living in Berlin and Stockholm. A Boston College Alumni, she currently works freelance with business strategy for start-ups, content development and copywriting. Combining her love of food, and background in film she created the food blog/YouTube channel: Americulinariska.com, which was a finalist in the SAVEUR Blog Awards for “Best Use of Video” 2015. She has also kept busy with illustrating digital children’s books on important topics such as tacos. Her next steps are looking for even more food related assignments as a writer, producer or talent.
About the blog:
Americulinariska: Promoting cooking it for yourself and pushing big flavors is the back bone… fried chicken and tacos complicitly involved. The blog videos are fun, straightforward, and based on exploring the diversity of American food heritage within an international context. The food focuses on cooking good eats no matter where you call home: using creativity and whole food.
Meet all of our Anniversary Sheroes.
Holistic hair care specialist Lyota Swainson
Financial guru Ellen Kountz
Photographer Lola Akerstrom
Poet Lesley-Anne Brown