I recently made one of our favorite meals, which we creative folk refer to as Lemon Chicken Artichoke Yum-Yum. It got me reminiscing about a trip Jon and I took to Barcelona where we embarked on a cooking and wine tasting adventure in the Priorat region. We spent five days learning to make traditional Spanish dishes (think paella and fresh mussels in garlicky white wine broth) and drinking amazing wine from local boutique vintners.
The coolest thing about these classes was what we took home with us, and I’m not talking about the extra five pounds. The cooking techniques we learned have allowed us to experiment more with recipes at home and achieve richer, more distinct flavors and a pretty high success rate overall.
Since we tend to start with a basic recipe and then totally corrupt it according to what’s in season, growing in the garden or otherwise on hand, Alicia’s instruction has provided great jumping off points for us. Our food tastes so much better now that we understand simple concepts like salting and browning meats and exactly when to add certain herbs and spices to coax the best flavor out of them.
And so, what was taught to us as Pollastre amb Prunes i Pinyon (Chicken with Prunes and Pine Nuts) became Chicken with Dried Apricots and Almonds when we got home. This has since evolved into our beloved Lemon Chicken Artichoke Yum-Yum. This is really nothing at all like the original and, unfortunately, ours does not get lit on fire like the original, but aside from that it’s really delicious! I think the key to this dish is starting with bone-in, skin on thighs and allowing those flavors and fats to coat the pan before everything else goes in.
One thing I love about this recipe is that you can substitute almost anything for anything else, except maybe the chicken although it would be good with shrimp, or halibut even. So okay, anything. You’ll need one large skillet (mine is anodized aluminum but cast iron or ceramic would work).
4 Organic chicken thighs with bones & skin, cut in half
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tsp salt
Medium yellow onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tsp capers
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Cup low-sodium chicken broth
¼ Cup white wine (dry)
¼ Tsp smoked paprika
1 Tsp flour
1 Cup vegetable (zucchini or other squash, broccoli, green beans etc.)
1 Can artichoke hearts, halved or quartered (6-8 hearts)
1 Cup spinach
2 Tbsp Parmesan or Manchego cheese
Heat olive oil in large skillet to medium-high. Salt chicken and cook, turning every five minutes or so, until browned on all sides and cooked through (20-25 mins – longer with whole thighs). For a lower-fat version you can now remove the skin and discard it. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Leave juices in pan.
Add onions to the same pan, lower the heat to medium and sauté until almost translucent. Add garlic and capers and cook two minutes. Stir in paprika. (Optional: put whole garlic cloves with skin on for a delicious treat!)
To make the sauce, stir lemon juice and chicken broth into pan. Scrape up goodies from bottom. Add white wine. Simmer uncovered 8-10 mins until mostly reduced. Sprinkle in flour and stir to thicken.
Return chicken to pan and add zucchini or other vegetables except spinach. Coat everything with sauce, cover and cook 5 mins on med-low. Stir occasionally. Just before serving, gently stir in spinach and artichoke hearts enough to warm them and coat them with sauce.
Serve over lightly oiled pasta – we like linguine or spinach ribbons – rice or quinoa. Top with grated parmesan or manchego cheese and sprinkle liberally with chopped parsley. Enjoy!
BTW… did you notice our fancy kitchen hack in the ‘mise en place’ photo? We’re short on counter space so we placed a large cutting board inside our tea drawer. When we need extra space we just open the drawer. The tea boxes hold up the board and when we want tea we just slide the cutting board back. Huzzah!