Braised Chicken 
Thighs with Marinated Artichokes
 and Blackened Carrots

img_7695I love comfort food, but I also love some big, bold flavors, and this recipe for Braised Chicken 
Thighs with Marinated Artichokes
 and Blackened Carrots is right up that alley. Both of these beautiful dishes are from Food & Wine, and I whipped it up for my friend April and I for a weeknight catch-up. We were in heaven!

The chicken was absolutely divine — you brown and crisp up the skin in a skillet and then braise the thighs in the oven for an hour, so they are super juicy and fall right off the bone. I especially love braising olives and artichokes — it makes them so tender and sweet, and they absorb up the great flavor from the artichoke brine, garlic, sherry, lemon and fish sauce. It’s an amazing combo of acid, umami, salty and rich from the olive oil in the brine.

Look how beautiful that is!

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And the carrots! These were amazing — and it’s a must to make them with super fresh farmers market carrots, preferably smaller ones so they cook through faster. These are coated in an awesome spice mix including paprika, cayenne, garlic and oregano and topped with a vinaigrette of balsamic and honey. Wow, so much flavor happening and you get such a great sweetness from roasting them through in the oven. I could eat these as a meal on their own!

 

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TW’s Tips

  • When you eat the chicken, make up a bite that has a little bit of everything happening — chicken, olive, artichoke and lemon. Yes, lemon. Cut the entire slices, rind and all, into pieces and eat them — it’s such an awesome hint of bitterness alongside the other flavors. If you love tart, you will loooove this.
  • When the chicken is done, squeeze the garlic cloves out of the head of garlic and smash them up a bit in the sauce so you get that flavor all mixed in too.
  • I could have gone even heavier on artichokes in this one — don’t be afraid to add more.
  • I served this straight up, but you could definitely put it over rice to soak up some of the yummy sauce.
  • The carrots are blackened, so you may stir up quite a bit of smoke in the cooking of these — I sure did. And with all the spices, I was sneezing like crazy! Fair warning: open a window, turn on the hood and get the air moving around in the kitchen for these puppies — it’s worth it.
  • Don’t bother cutting of the ends of the carrots, just wash them well.

Enjoy!

Braised Chicken 
Thighs with Marinated Artichokes

Ingredients

  • 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (3 3/4 pounds)
  • Sea salt and pepper (see Note)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 15 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, plus 1/4 cup brine from the jar
  • 1 cup Castelvetrano olives
  • 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1/2 cup semidry sherry, such as amontillado
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. In a large cast-iron skillet or black steel pan, heat the oil. Add half of the chicken skin side down and top the pieces (not the pan) with a pot lid; cook over moderate heat until browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer skin side up to a large baking dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Scatter the artichoke hearts, olives, garlic, lemon slices and thyme in the baking dish.

Pour off the fat from the skillet. Add the artichoke brine, stock, sherry and fish sauce; bring to a boil. Stir in 1 teaspoon of salt, then pour the mixture around the chicken. Cover tightly with foil and braise in the oven for 1 hour, until the chicken is very tender.

Uncover and increase the oven temperature to 400°. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes longer, until the skin is crisp.

Discard the thyme. Transfer to plates and serve.

Blackened Carrots

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 pounds medium carrots, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a small bowl, whisk the paprika with the oregano, cayenne and garlic powder. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 2 minutes, until the spices are fragrant.

Put the butter in a shallow bowl. Dip the cut side of each carrot in the butter and then coat in the spice mixture, pressing to help the spices adhere; transfer to a plate.

In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Working in batches if necessary, add the carrots cut side down in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Cook over high heat until blackened on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 12 to 15 minutes, until the carrots are just tender.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the vinegar and honey. Whisk in the olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Transfer the carrots to a platter and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

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Grilled Artichoke Sub

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More sandwich love coming at ya. This vegetarian option is super tasty. The featured ingredient is artichokes that have been charred in a grill pan, so they have a nice caramelization going. I love artichokes and they’re great as the “meat” in this recipe (by Jeff Mauro, btw). They are accompanied by a lemony, garlicky ricotta spread with pine nuts, which add a nice crunch, topped off by lettuce. Pretty simple, but pretty great.

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TW’s Tips

  • The ricotta spread was a little too garlicky for me; I’d cut the garlic in half.
  • When you roast the garlic, it needed a little more time than 20 minutes. I went about 40 so it was nice and tender.
  • Costco has a big jar of artichokes that worked great for this.
  • You can roast the garlic ahead of time — even make the whole ricotta spread ahead of time if you want.

Enjoy!

Grilled Artichoke Sub

Ingredients

  • 1 head garlic (I recommend cutting amount in half)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons grated romano
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Three 10-ounce jars oil-packed artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 large French baguette
  • 4 to 6 vibrant leafs of red leaf lettuce
  • 1 cup pine nuts, toasted with salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Lop off stem end of the head of garlic. Pour the olive oil over the exposed cloves, sprinkle with salt and pepper and wrap loosely in foil. Bake until soft and slightly caramelized, about 20 minutes. Let cool, squeeze out the garlic cloves and set aside. Once cool, using your knife, chop into a paste.

Mix together the roasted garlic, ricotta, basil, romano and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Gently add the artichokes to the grill pan and grill until properly charred, 4 to 5 minutes a side, then set aside.

Meanwhile, lightly toast the baguette, about 5 minutes.

For the sandwich build: Split the toasted baguette in half and schmear each half with the ricotta spread. Then pile on the grilled artichokes. Next, add the toasted pine nuts and finally the red leaf lettuce. Cut to serve your family and friends and enjoy with a side of Tony Bennett perhaps.

 

Chicken Piccata with Lemon, Capers and Artichoke Hearts

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This was a really easy weeknight meal by Robin Miller, and super delicious. I love a piccata. There’s something about the really simple but pungent flavors — lemon, capers, the great, toasty, salty crust you get on well browned meat. It hits all the notes on your palate. This chicken piccata incorporates artichokes as well, which is a great addition. Then just throw it on top of some rice or pasta and you’ve got a meal. The sauce cooks down into a nice, rich yet tart and salty accompaniment that is great when it soaks into the rice.

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TW’s Tips

  • You can use any type of rice for this — white, brown, one of the different flavors you can get in a box. The one I used had some almonds in it which added a nice crunch and layer of flavor.
  • Serve with a roasted green vegetable of your choice.
  • I prefer to use several layers of plastic wrap instead of plastic bags when you’re pounding the chicken. I’m just afraid the bag will pop open and get chicken juice everywhere. Ick.
  • I skipped the lima beans in the rice.

Enjoy!

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Chicken Piccata with Lemon, Capers and Artichoke Hearts

Ingredients

  • 4 (4-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1/4 cup drained capers
  • 1 cup quick-cooking brown rice
  • 1/2 cup frozen lima beans

Directions

Place chicken in zip-top bags and pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin until 1/4-inch thick. Remove chicken from bag and season all over with salt and black pepper. In a shallow dish (or plastic bag), combine flour, lemon zest, paprika, and garlic powder. Mix well. Add chicken and turn to coat. Remove chicken from flour mixture and shake off excess flour.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and saute 2 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. Add lemon juice, wine and chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and sauce thickens. Add artichoke hearts and capers and simmer 1 minute to heat through.

Cook rice according to package directions, adding lima beans at the beginning of cooking process. Serve chicken and sauce with rice.