Chicken with Pears & Polenta

"The sweetness of the pears is balanced by the tangy Camembert stirred into the polenta." —Rach
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chicken with pears and polenta

Recipe by Rachael Ray 

This recipe originally appeared in our Harvest 2020 issue. Get the magazine here.

  • 4Servings



  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. each ground thyme and ground sage
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp. EVOO
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 ripe pears, such as Bosc, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, quartered, or 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine, such as Sancerre
  • 2 tbsp. (packed) brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar or balsamic drizzle


  • 3 cups liquid (I prefer half chicken stock and half milk, but water works, too)
  • 1 cup quick-cooking polenta
  • 1 cup trimmed and finely chopped ripe Camembert
  • 1 small bundle fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste


1. Place the flour in a shallow dish; mix in the dried thyme and sage. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge in the flour; transfer to a plate.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add the oil, three turns of the pan. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken and cook until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a clean plate.

3. Add the butter, pears, onion, and fresh thyme to the skillet; season with salt and pepper. Partially cover the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pears and onion soften, 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook until it is absorbed, about 1 minute. Stir in the brown sugar and balsamic. Slide the chicken back into the skillet and cook until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes more, depending on the size of the breasts.

4. Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring the liquid for the polenta to a low boil over medium to medium-high. Pour in the polenta and whisk until the mixture thickens, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the cheese; stir until it melts. Add the spinach; stir until it wilts into the polenta. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

5. Divide the chicken and pears among plates. Serve the polenta alongside.