Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I will try to be better

I could come up with a million excuses on why I haven't updated my blog. Ones I am sure we have all heard before. But now that we are back from a nice trip to Hawaii, I will have some more time on my hands (at least I hope to!)

I cannot believe I have never posted this recipe before. When I first met my husband, this was my go-to impress everyone dinner. I think my favorite vegetable is artichoke, so I pretty much love any recipe that includes artichoke hearts in it. Each time I make this recipe I change it up a bit, but the basics behind it make for a great meal. I also changed quite a bit of it so its not so complicated.

Chicken Saute w/Artichoke Hearts
Fresh artichokes taste best in this dish. If they are unavailable, use about 1 1/2 cups thawed, frozen hearts or drained, marinated hearts and add them with the tomatoes.

1 lemon, halved
1 lb. small artichokes
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
4 skinless chicken breast halves
2 Tbs. pure olive oil
Salt and freshly ground white or black pepper, to
4 garlic cloves, cut into slivers
1 shallot, cut into slivers
1 Tbs. minced fresh basil
1 Tbs. minced fresh tarragon
1 Tbs. minced fresh chervil
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 cup Sauvignon Blanc or other dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 or 3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Have ready a bowl three-fourths full of water to which you have added the juice from 1/2 lemon. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, cut off the stem even with the base. Cut off the top one-third of the artichoke. Starting at the base, break off 3 or 4 rows of the tough outer leaves, snapping them downward, until you reach the tender, pale green inner leaves. Trim away any dark green areas around the base. As you work, rub the cut surfaces with the remaining lemon half to prevent darkening. When the artichoke is fully trimmed, cut in half lengthwise and, using a sharp spoon or knife, scoop out and discard the prickly choke. Then cut each half in half again to create quarters and add to the lemon water. Set aside.

Spread the flour on a plate, then lightly coat both sides of each chicken piece with the flour, shaking off the excess. In a fry pan over high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chicken pieces and sauté, turning once, until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Pour off all but 2 Tbs. of the fat from the pan. Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic and shallot, and sauté until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the basil, tarragon, chervil and mustard. Increase the heat to high, pour in the wine and broth, and deglaze the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the pan bottom. Return the chicken to the pan and add the tomatoes. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook turning the pieces occasionally, until the chicken is opaque throughout and the juices run clear, about 20 minutes for the breasts and 30 minutes for the thighs and drumsticks.

About 10 minutes before the chicken is done, drain the artichokes and add to the pan. Transfer the chicken pieces to a plate as they are done, then just before the remaining chicken is done, return the cooked pieces to the pan to warm briefly.

Transfer the contents of the pan to a warmed serving platter and garnish with the parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library Series, Casual Entertaining, by Joyce Goldstein (Time-Life Books, 1998).

*** My Changes--> I used only chicken breasts, the original recipe calls for drumsticks & thighs. Since chicken breasts have less fat, you will need to add some more olive oil to the pan to saute the garlic & shallots.
If I don't have fresh herbs, I just used dried.
If I don't have wine, I just use more chicken broth. Sometimes I use marsala in place of the white wine.
Sometimes I add tomatoes, other times I don't. Other good additions are mushrooms, black olives & toasted pine nuts.
I usually serve this over whole-wheat pasta and top it off with some grated parmesan cheese.

--> Pictures are not working right now so I will add them later

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