Cooking For Dancers: Grilled Chicken with Polenta, Caramelized Onions, and Asparagus

Posted by on 04.26.2012

Welcome to the first installment of TENDUS’ new series “Cooking For Dancers.” I have decided to start a series of posts that will aim to bring my readers healthy, balanced meals that fuel a dancer’s body.  I have always enjoyed cooking.  In the past few years, I have begun to experiment with different recipes to create food that is not only healthy, but tastes like it’s not!

Today, we will start off with Grilled Chicken with Polenta, Caramelized Onions, and Asparagus.

Chicken with Polenta, Caramelized Onions, and Asparagus

Nutrition facts:

Servings: 4     Calories: 401   Fiber: 4.2g    Protein: 31.9g     Potassium: 219mg*

*Potassium is great to prevent muscle cramps during high activity.  Other foods high in Potassium include: potatoes, bananas, raisins, spinach, and tomatoes.



2 medium chicken breasts, boneless, skinless

1 large yellow onion

1 cup polenta

16 spears of asparagus

4 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

1 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1 pinch of baking soda

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped chives



Total cooking time: 45 minutes

1. Chicken can be grilled, poached, or baked. It will be cooked separately from the rest of the dish.  Depending on size, the chicken breasts should cook for approximately 20 minutes.  Start the chicken about 10 minutes after starting the onions and before beginning the polenta.

2. Cut the large onion into slices approximately a quarter inch in thickness.  Separate all the slices so the layers of the onion are not sticking together.  Warm a fry pan over high heat.  Drizzle 1 tablespoon of EVOO in the pan and add the onions.  Sauté until transparent.  Lower the heat to medium low and leave to cook down, about 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally. After fully cooked, stir in brown sugar and bring to low heat.

Separate the slices so the sections do not stick together. Then place in a pan over high heat with EVOO.

Once the onions are done cooking down, they will look like this.


3.  In a medium sauce pan, bring chicken broth to a simmer then stir in polenta.  Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes.  When all the liquid has been absorbed, add parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

4. While the polenta is cooking, prepare asparagus by cutting off the bottom of each spear.  If you are able to buy nice thick spears like those often sold in California, peeling the outer skin improves the flavor and texture of the vegetable.  Bring half a pot of water to a boil.  Add salt and a pinch of baking soda.  This pinch of baking soda helps to preserve the beautiful green color in each spear.   Place the asparagus into the water for no more than 2 minutes.  Drain and drizzle 1 tablespoon of EVOO.  Add a dash of salt to taste.

Peeling the asparagus spears

To Serve:

Place polenta on a plate or shallow bowl.  Top with caramelized onions and sliced chicken.  Frame the plate with four spears of asparagus.  Sprinkle with chopped chives.  Pair with a California Pinot Noir and enjoy!

Pair with a California Pinot Noir.

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