Pan Roasted Chicken with Golden Grape Tomato Agrodolce (Sweet and Sour) with Polenta

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Chicken Agrodolce, Italian Sweet and Sour from Spinach Tiger

The Creative Cooking Group came up with an amazing theme this month. Color, but only one color. I thought for weeks about the color yellow.

At first I was thrilled with this concept, thinking that it gave us lots of freedom. Then I hit blog block.

The block was broken and I was inspired when I ate dinner at Margot Cafe last Saturday night. I did something I never ever do in restaurants. I ordered chicken because the server recommended it.

It was one of the best chicken dishes of my life and I’m no stranger to great chicken, because roasted chicken is one of my own signature dishes. The chicken was pan roasted with a green tomato agridolce sauce and served over polenta.

We had five different entrees at the table and still this was my favorite, and I knew this was the dish I would make for this challenge, changing out the green tomatoes for golden grape tomatoes and make my color for the challenge, GOLD instead of yellow.

Italian Sweet and Sour Sauce, Agrodolce

Agrodolce, Chicken, Polenta

What’s Tomato Agrodolce you ask?  I didn’t know myself, but I should have. It’s a sweet and sour sauce from Sicily, my grandfather’s birthplace, and a place I’ve visited. It brings a wake up or fermented perk to a dish, especially a meaty fish or chicken. The Sicilians often made it with swordfish or tuna.

Agrodolce can be prepared by a method that takes up to 45 minutes using white wine, vinegar and sugar or made quickly using onion, butter, vinegar and sugar. I tried it both ways, and the quick way without the wine was preferred, although I enjoyed both versions.

Chicken Agrodolce by Angela Roberts

This dish can be made in under an hour, and it’s marvelous. It’s heart warming. It’s surprising. The chicken was so tender, yet so golden brown. I cut up a whole chicken which was dry brined, brought it to near room temperature and then put it on the grill at the highest heat possible (800 degrees). After a few minutes, I brought the heat down to about 600 degrees.

The polenta was creamy and served to offset the pungent tang of the golden  tomato agrodolce.  The polenta is a wonderful backdrop for the tang of the agrodolce. I didn’t add any cheese into the polenta, keeping it simple so that it soaked up the flavor of the sweet and sour sauce. This was a new dish for me, and underscores the reason I dine out so frequently.

I have a Question for YOU about Dining Out:  I find that most of my foodie blogger friends don’t dine out very frequently. How about you?  How often do you eat out in restaurants? Nice restaurants that cost about $80-$100 per couple? Do restaurants inspire to cook at home and try new things?

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Pan Roasted Chicken with Golden Grape Tomato Agrodolce (Sweet and Sour) with Polenta

An Italian sweet and sour chicken, known as agridolce made with golden grape tomatoes and creamy polenta
Prep Time2 hours
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time2 hours 50 minutes
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Author: Angela Roberts


  • I whole chicken cut up into 4 parts breasts with wings, thighs with legs (or pre cut chicken parts of your choice)
  • sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion or 2 shallots diced
  • 8 ounces golden grape tomatoes cut into quarters
  • 2/3 cup champagne vinegar can use red wine or balsamic
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups dry polenta made according to instructions. Can use instant or regular.
  • 4 tablespoons butter


  • Salt chicken parts, wrap in plastic for two days in refrigerator. As a short cut, you can salt when you are taking it to room temperature.
  • Bring to room temperature, leaving out for an hour to two hours.
  • Light grill to highest heat. Spray grill with cooking spray.
  • Put chicken on grill skin side down for 10 minutes. Turn grill down to medium high (about 500-600 degrees). Turn chicken at about 20 minutes or when it's golden brown. Cook another 15-20 minutes or until done.
  • In the meantime, make polenta and agrodolce.
  • Make polenta according to instructions. Add in two tablespoons butter to polenta if that is not part of the instructions to make it creamy.

Agrodolce Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in pan. Add onion and cook until softened and golden. Add tomatoes and cook for a few minutes. Add in sugar and vinegar and reduce down about 10 -15 minutes. During last few minutes add in 2 tablespoons of butter.
  • Assemble dish, with first polenta, chicken. Pour sauce over chicken. Serve immediately.

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  1. Wonderful dish Angela. Sounds so delicious. Love that you chose gold for your color. I don’t usually order chicken in restaurants either…
    P.S. Like your plate and tablecloth too.

  2. This is definitely NOT the easiest color to work with in terms of making a beautiful plate, but you certainly pulled it off. I really want to make this dish, it’s lovely!

  3. Great recipe Angela! Agridulce is an ancient sauce. The Romans used it and versions of it flow all over the middle east. When you taste it you can see why. Brilliant idea. Can’t wait to try this baby! Beautiful job on the challenge… love your colors.

  4. gorgeous!! i had such a hard time choosing one color too, even though at first it seemed like the world was my oyster 🙂 this sounds absolutely delicious- must try the agridolce!

  5. What a beautiful color! Everything about this is just perfect…the combination of flavors, the textures & colors…I bet it would be even more perfect with a glass of crispy chilled white wine?

  6. Good job on the challenge, Angela! It looks wonderful and is definitely something I would make. I think, however, after browning the chicken, I would try cooking it in the sauce (sort of like a cacciatore). What do you think?

    Hey Val – I’ll meet you in Sicily. It’s high on my travel bucket list.

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