Recipe - Cumin Chicken with Baked Polenta

June 30, 2019

Recipe - Cumin Chicken with Baked Polenta

July Spice of the Month - Cumin 

Each month, we’re blogging out original and delicious recipes featuring one of our Reluctant Trading spices. The recipes are formulated exclusively for us by the super-talented and super-friendly Sarah Marshall.

So what’s our spice of the month, you ask? Drumroll please - Cumin Seed!


Sarah Cooks!

Cumin Get It! Cumin Chicken with Baked Polenta

I love the powerful aroma that explodes from each tiny, boat-shaped cumin seed. It amazes me that so many flavor profiles can be packed within the minute ridges of the complex seeds- bitter, smoky, salty, and earthy.

This member of the parsley family has most certainly helped me in my most dire times. Known as a spice that stimulates the appetite, it also aids in indigestion, and in my case helped to reduce my nausea while I was pregnant. This chicken and polenta was my go-to meal in my first trimester. The dish was comforting, warm, and most importantly, relieved what ailed me.

As soon as the seeds hit the pan, they fill the air with their toasty pungent aroma and my mouth begins to water. My family knows exactly what I am up to, as unmistakable smells and sounds begin to fill the kitchen.

My daughter loves to help cut out the polenta with her favorite cookie cutter shapes. This recipe is also a good lesson in making your own quick flavorful red sauce. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. Happy cooking, I am ready to devour!

– Sarah Marshall

Cumin chicken with baked polenta! Cumin get it!

Baked Polenta

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Baked Polenta Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (or water)
  • ¼ cup salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon Reluctant Trading Icelandic Flaky Sea Salt
  • 1 ½ cups polenta
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, loosely packed
  • ½ cup Castelvetrano pitted, sliced, green olives
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil


Baked Polenta Preparation

Step 1

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Step 2

In a medium saucepan, over high heat, bring the milk, stock, butter and salt to a boil. Once boiling, immediately (to avoid frothy, burnt milk) add the polenta and turn the heat to low. Stir together, as the polenta thickens, for 2-5 minutes, until combined and thick.

Step 3

Turn off the heat, add the cheese and olives, and stir until combined.

Step 4

Pour the polenta onto the parchment lined baking sheet, spread evenly, to ¾ inch. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Step 5

After one hour, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush polenta with olive oil. Cut into triangles, circles, hearts, or whatever you are into. (Tip: Save the scraps, you can fry them up for breakfast, or bake them alongside the cut-out pieces for snacking on later).

Step 6

Lay the cut-out pieces, olive oil side down, onto parchment paper. Place the baking sheet into the center rack of the over and bake for 20 minutes, until slightly golden on the bottom. Flip each piece, and bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Our fresh cumin is brought in fresh and direct from a small town in southern India. Same lots we supply to award-winning chefs across the country.

Cumin Chicken Ingredients

  • 1 ½ tablespoons Reluctant Trading Whole Cumin Seeds, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Reluctant Trading Icelandic Flake Sea Salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 eight-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half by length
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, cut in half
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut in quarters
  • 5 medium cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 28oz can of peeled whole Italian tomatoes
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian Parsley

Cumin Chicken Preparation

Step 1

In a large Dutch oven, toast the cumin seeds over medium high heat, shaking the pan every 30 seconds, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Place seeds onto a plate to cool.

Step 2 In a mortar and pestle, finely grind ½ tablespoon toasted Reluctant Trading cumin seeds, Icelandic Sea Salt, and oregano. Sprinkle seasoning evenly over both sides of the chicken. Set any remaining spices aside.

Step 3 In the Dutch oven, over medium heat, heat the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken, cook for 5 minutes, until light brown.

Step 4 While the chicken is browning place the shallot, bell pepper, garlic, tomatoes, remaining 1 tablespoon toasted cumin seeds, and remaining ground spices into a food processor, blend on high until smooth.

Step 5 Flip the chicken, let cook for 5 minutes, until brown.

Step 6 Carefully (it will bubble) pour in 1 cup of sauce from the food processor, stir and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add remaining sauce, stir and let come to a low boil.

Step 7 Reduce the heat, and let simmer, stirring occasionally, to avoid sticking. Cook for 12-15 minutes, until chicken is tender and cooked through.

Step 8 Remove chicken from pan, bring sauce to boil, stir consistently until sauce thickens, about 4-6 minutes. Taste the sauce, season with salt and pepper, as needed.

Step 9 Plate the polenta, top with chicken, cover with sauce, and top with cheese and parsley.


As soon as the seeds hit the pan, they fill the air with their toasty pungent aroma and my mouth begins to water. My family knows exactly what I am up to, as unmistakable smells and sounds begin to fill the kitchen.


About Sarah

Sarah is the owner of Marshall’s Haute Sauce. Her small batch sauce company grew from her love of gardening, and background in home preserving. Sarah is passionate about farmers, artisan producers, and canning seasonal ingredients. She spends her free time teaching canning classes, experimenting in the kitchen, and organizing a local canning club- Portland Preservation Society. Her love for canning and preserving all things local, inspired her to write Preservation Pantry: Modern Canning From Root To Top And Stem To Core. Be sure to check out Marshall’s Haute Sauce Variety Pack. Best hot sauce evah!

Reluctant Resources Used in this Recipe

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Also, be sure to check out Sarah’s other recipes.


Our cumin is so fresh and aromatic, you can almost smell it through the Internet.

I like to toast our cumin several ways. With kind words and high heat.

True, our fresh spices crush it. But sometimes you need to crush them, too.

Cumin chicken with baked polenta! Cumin get it!