Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chicken with Creamed Sherry Artichoke Sauce

Not sure why I've been craving artichokes lately, but I needed a fix.  I adore them just simply steamed and served with drawn butter, but I wanted a recipe that included them in a meal. For this recipe, I used canned artichoke hearts, so it can't get much simpler than that. 

                        Click for Printable Recipe
Ingredients:
3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 of an onion, chopped fine
3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1 pound of thin sliced chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
salt, pepper, dried basil to taste
a bit of flour to lightly sprinkle chicken
1/2 - 2/3 cup white mushrooms, sliced thinly
1/2  cup sun dried tomatoes, sliced thinly
1/2 cup creamed sherry
3/4 can artichoke hearts, in water, drained
1 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/3 cup white wine
1 sprig fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stem
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


Step-by-Step:
Prep - chop garlic, onions, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes.
Well, this was technically for the spinach, but I had to include this photo to illustrate that the whole family can be involved.  The little ones were removing the stems from the fresh spinach for me.  They are learning knife skills (supervised of course) and simple kitchen techniques.
Season your chicken well. If you want your final sauce to be a bit thicker, give the chicken a light coating of flour now before they go into the pan.
Grate the cheese fresh please!  I've said it many times, but there is no substitute for this flavor.  And once cheese is grated, the cut edges get oxidized and you lose a lot of flavor.  So buy it in a chunk and grate it yourself for the maximum flavor impact.

Melt the butter and olive oil together until very hot and foaming.

Add the seasoned chicken.
 Lightly flour and season the "back" side of the chicken.  This will lightly thicken our sauce.
 Once golden brown on one side, flip them.
When just cooked through, but still tender and juicy, remove them chicken to a plate.  You may cover them to keep them warm.
 To the oil/butter left over, saute the onions and garlic until soft. Then add the sun dried tomatoes.

Let the tomatoes cook for a few minutes to soften, then add the sliced mushrooms.
Deglaze the pan with the creamed sherry.  Can you just imagine the smell yet? If you are not familiar with sherry, it tastes (to me) somewhat like a hybrid between port and brandy - a little sweet, a little nutty.
 Add some fresh thyme leaves if you would like...
Add the drained artichoke hearts...
 Next, add the cream.
After several minutes of cooking down, add the grated cheese, then a little white wine.  In retrospect a squeeze of fresh lemon over this sauce would be really good.
 Snuggle the chicken back down into this delicious sauce.
 After a few minutes, it should be a silky, luxurious sauce.
 I served it over angel hair pasta.
Vibrant and soft flavors envelope the chicken that is creamy in your mouth but also brightened with the tangy sun dried tomatoes.
 *and let me add one more thing.  This makes one heck of a "bring leftovers for lunch tomorrow" meal, so make extra!  The sauce just gets better and better as the flavors sit and marry together.

Order the Menu Musings Cookbook!
 
Method:
Prep - chop garlic, onions, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes.  Season your chicken well. If you want your final sauce to be a bit thicker, give the chicken a light coating of flour now before they go into the pan. Grate the cheese fresh please!  I've said it many times, but there is no substitute for this flavor.  And once cheese is grated, the cut edges get oxidized and you lose a lot of flavor.  So buy it in a chunk and grate it yourself for the maximum flavor impact.

 Melt the butter and olive oil together until very hot and foaming.  Add the seasoned chicken.  Lightly flour and season the "back" side of the chicken.  This will lightly thicken our sauce.  Once golden brown on one side, flip them.  When just cooked through, but still tender and juicy, remove them chicken to a plate.  You may cover them to keep them warm.

To the oil/butter left over, saute the onions and garlic until soft. Then add the sun dried tomatoes.  Let the tomatoes cook for a few minutes to soften, then add the sliced mushrooms.  Deglaze the pan with the creamed sherry.  Can you just imagine the smell yet? If you are not familiar with sherry, it tastes (to me) somewhat like a hybrid between port and brandy - a little sweet, a little nutty.  Add some fresh thyme leaves if you would like.  Add the drained artichoke hearts, then add the cream.

After several minutes of cooking down, add the grated cheese, then a little white wine.  In retrospect a squeeze of fresh lemon over this sauce would be really good.   Snuggle the chicken back down into this delicious sauce.  After a few minutes, it should be a silky, luxurious sauce.  I served it over angel hair pasta.

Food Nerd Notes:
Artichokes are low-calorie, nutrient-rich vegetables. According to the USDA, one medium Artichoke is an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C, and also a good source of folate and magnesium. Artichokes also are a natural source of antioxidants. For you diabetics, eat up, as non-starchy vegetables, such as artichokes, are vital to a diabetes meal plan - they contain important nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and fiber. Plus, they contain few calories and carbohydrates and no fat.


Actually, the total antioxidant capacity of artichoke flower heads is one of the highest reported for vegetables. Cynarin, an active chemical constituent in Cynara, causes an increased bile flow. The majority of the cynarin found in artichoke is located in the pulp of the leaves, though dried leaves and stems of artichoke also contain it. You may  have noticed for yourself, that eating artichokes inhibits taste receptors, making water (and other foods and drinks) seem sweet. 

This diuretic vegetable is of nutritional value because of its exhibiting an aid to digestion, strengthening of the liver function and gall bladder function, and raising of the HDL/LDL ratio. This reduces cholesterol levels, which diminishes the risk for arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Aqueous extracts from artichoke leaves have also been shown to reduce cholesterol and having a hypolipidemic influence, lowering blood cholesterol. Artichoke contains the bioactive agents apigenin and luteolin. C. scolymus also seems to have a bifidogenic effect on beneficial gut bacteria. Artichoke leaf extract has proved helpful for patients with functional dyspepsia, and may ameliorate symptoms of IBS. 

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