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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Easy chicken with ’chokes

For us, during-the-work-week meals need to be quick, easy, delicious and economical. It helps if the recipes are forgiving, and if the dish is something we still love to eat even if we have it every week.

There are many recipes like that in the very useful Grapevine Cottage Cookbook from Zionsville's best-known wine shop. The starting point for our favorite workday recipe is on Page 111, Sautéed Chicken with Artichokes and Capers.

The following version is easy to make as long as these staples are on hand:

- Dijon mustard (Costco, Grey Poupon two-pack)
- Capers (Cost Plus, $5.99 for a 16-oz. jar, buy a couple)
- Olive oil
- Black pepper
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs (Costco)
- Lemons (buy a bag somewhere)
- Onions (buy a bag somewhere)
- Garlic (I prefer a bulk container of peeled cloves)
- Artichoke hearts, halved and quartered (about $9 a gallon at Costco)
- Dry white wine (some for you, some for the chicken)
- Optional: Frozen mushroom risotto from Trader Joe's

’Choked Chicken with Capers
Serves four to six, or two with plenty of leftovers

Cut up two packets of chicken (about 10 thighs total) into bite-sized pieces. Pour enough olive oil in a sauté pan to cover bottom and heat to medium.

Put chicken into sauté pan and brown until cooked through, stirring in about half a dozen chopped garlic cloves. (If you don't have a Cuisinart Mini-Prep yet, get one -- they're only about $30.) Grind on fresh black pepper to taste, remove chicken to Pyrex dish, and place in oven to keep warm.

Deglaze pan with about a cup of white wine, and add one large chopped onion to pan. Cook until soft, then add a cup or two of drained artichoke hearts (I use a large slotted spoon, and put in about four spoonfuls). Let mixture simmer, and add 2-3 Tbs. of Dijon mustard, the juice of one lemon, and a couple of Tbs. of capers (again with a slotted spoon).

Stir the chicken back into the mixture and simmer until the sauce has reduced to desired consistency. If you like, this is a good time to add a package of TJ's mushroom risotto. (If you prefer a neater presentation you can prepare the risotto separately and then spoon the chicken mixture over it -- but then you'll have two dirty pans instead of one, won't you?)

Spoon onto plates and enjoy with a little more of that white wine. Excellent when zapped in the microwave for lunch the next day, and not bad cold when furtively snacking from the fridge in the wee hours of the morning.
M. Zane Grey, 8:48 AM