Braised Chicken With Artichokes and Mushrooms

I have been on a real kick cooking from the New York Times Cooking app/site. Planning ahead tip: I get their daily emails and flag dishes that look different to save to my “Recipe Box,” then scroll through when I’m looking for ideas for what to cook for the week.

This recipe for braised chicken with artichokes and mushrooms is amaaaazing…but also amazingly simple. I love anything I can make in one pot and then throw in the oven to finish it while I relax for a little while. (This is also great when you have company, so you can pop it in the oven right before they arrive and have time to relax and chat instead of slaving over the stove.) Braising in the oven gets such great flavors going, too. Before it goes in the oven, you need to brown up the chicken in the pan in a bit of butter to get a nice crust on it — then saute the mushrooms with some flour that will work as the base of the sauce. While the recipe called for two pans, I just used a Le Creuset pot to start — no skillet needed.

The sherry gives the sauce a nice acidity. Serve over rice, pasta, couscous…anything would work. I roasted up some green beans in the oven in the last 15 minutes of cooking. Delish!

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TW’s Tips

  • Use one pan — no need to dirty two
  • Make sure you get the pan nice and hot before you add the chicken to make sure it gets a nice brown sear on it — that’s where you get the good flavor!
  • You can also use boneless skinless chicken in this if you have that on hand. I actually used some on the bone and some boneless (call me crazy) since my husband prefers boneless (call HIM crazy — right?)
  • Double the artichokes — you’ll be glad you did

Enjoy!

Braised Chicken With Artichokes and Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • Salt
  •  Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  •  One 3 pound chicken, cut into pieces (or 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces)
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  •  cup chicken broth or bouillon
  • 3 tablespoons sherry
  • 1 (12-to-15-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix together 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and the paprika and sprinkle on all sides of the chicken.

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over high heat. Brown the chicken prettily on all sides, in batches, adjusting the heat as needed. Transfer the chicken to a large Dutch oven or casserole.

Pour off the butter from the skillet, wipe it clean and return it to the heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. When the butter starts to foam, add the mushrooms and sauté for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over them, stir in the chicken broth and the sherry and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Halve artichoke hearts and arrange them between the chicken pieces. Pour mushroom-sherry sauce over them and cook in the oven, covered, for 40 minutes to an hour.

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Israeli Couscous, Eggplant and Tomato Gratin

If you’re looking for a hearty, satisfying meatless dish, Israeli Couscous, Eggplant and Tomato Gratin should be next on your “to make” list. I made this for dinner for my favorite vegetarian friend, and even I had seconds! Israeli couscous is a great little grain — it’s more like a pasta than a couscous actually. The grains are larger than regular couscous and have a nice chew to them when cooked al dente — and make sure you do. The layering and cheese going on here, plus the basil topping made this taste almost like a lasagna!

Serve with a salad and bread.

TW’s Tips

  • I used crushed San Marzano tomatoes but you could substitute your favorite canned tomato sauce
  • Any eggplant will do — use your favorite type or whatever looks best at the grocery/market
  • See tip below for cooking the Israeli couscous

Enjoy!

Israeli Couscous, Eggplant and Tomato Gratin

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds eggplant (2 medium globe eggplants or 4 to 6 smaller or Japanese eggplants), sliced into rounds, about 1/3 inch thick
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil (plus additional for oiling the foil and baking dish)
  • 2 cups cooked Israeli couscous (see below). You can also use regular couscous or any other cooked grain
  • 2 cups fresh tomato sauce or marinara sauce made from canned tomatoes
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup, tightly packed)
  • Torn or slivered basil leaves for garnish

Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat foil generously with olive oil. Toss eggplant slices with salt to taste and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Line baking sheet with the slices in a single layer (you may need 2 baking sheets, or do this in batches). Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes. Eggplant will look dry on surface but should be soft when pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and, wearing oven mitts, carefully fold the foil up in half over the eggplant and crimp edges to create a sealed packet. Allow eggplant to steam inside the packet for another 15 minutes (you can cook couscous during this time). Turn oven down to 375 degrees. Oil a 2-quart gratin or baking dish with olive oil. Place cooked Israeli couscous in a bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce. Spoon into baking dish in an even layer.

Remove eggplant slices from foil packet (they should be thoroughly tender), and layer on top of couscous, overlapping slices slightly. Cover with remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle on Parmesan cheese. Drizzle on remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Place in oven and bake 30 minutes, until browned and bubbling. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with torn or slivered basil leaves just before serving.

Tip
Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add 1 cup Israeli couscous. Toast the couscous, shaking the pan or stirring often, until it colors very lightly and smells aromatic and toasty, a bit like popcorn. Immediately add 2 quarts water and salt to taste (be generous, as if you are cooking pasta) and boil 10 minutes, until the couscous is al dente; it should not be mushy and there should still be plenty of water in the pot. Drain through a strainer and rinse with cold water. Tap the strainer against the sink to drain well, then return the couscous to the pot, cover the pot with a kitchen towel, and return the lid. Let sit for 10 minutes. Measure out 2 cups and proceed with recipe.