Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Embrace Weeknight Braising with Skillet Chicken and Artichokes

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I love a good Sunday afternoon pot roast, when I have hours to transform a tough piece of meat into a sublimely tender dish with a succulent sauce to boot. But braising has scope. The cooking technique can be applied to various cuts of meat and many different vegetables. It can also be done over a long period of time or quickly enough for a weeknight.

This recipe for Braised Chicken Thighs with Artichoke Hearts and Green Olives, adapted from “30-Minute Meal Prep” by Robin Miller, is a great example.

Get the recipe: Braised chicken in white wine and artichokes

Miller’s book is all about healthy recipes designed to be transformed into a new meal later in the week. So this one starts by dredging eight chicken thighs in seasoned flour, then cooking them in a pan until browned on both sides. To reduce fat, Miller recommends bone-in, skinless chicken thighs. (The skin can be fried, if desired, and served over the finished dish – although, of course, this negates the nutritional benefits of removing it.) You can also leave the skin on if the fat savings are not significant for you or use boneless, skinless thighs to save on preparation. If you opt for boneless chicken, note that the chicken will cook slightly faster.

White wine is used to deglaze the pan – although chicken broth makes a great non-alcoholic substitute – before adding quartered artichoke hearts (use already quartered artichokes to save on preparation) and d green olives stuffed with chili pepper. (I made this recipe recently for a friend who, unbeknownst to me, is not the biggest fan of olives, but even he enjoyed them for the salty taste they added to this dish.) After a Short time on the heat, the flour from the chicken helps thicken the liquid slightly, turning it into a sauce that just begs to be drizzled over crusty bread, white rice, or your cereal of choice.

Unless you plan to feed a crowd, there will be enough leftovers that can be reheated for another meal later in the week. Or you can turn leftover thighs into a whole new dish.

Braising is the most flexible and foolproof method for obtaining meltingly tender meat.

In fact, meal preparation is built into the design of Miller’s book. “In each chapter you will find a recipe for ‘Round One’ and a recipe for ‘Round Two,'” Miller wrote. “Working with leftovers is an integral part of my plan-ahead strategy, and this program not only takes the stress out of meal planning, but it also streamlines the cooking process for 50% of the recipes in this book. ” Miller suggests using leftover braised chicken thighs in her tamale pie recipe, or using them in curries, quesadillas, or stews, to name a few.

Although the recipes are mostly prescriptive, you can easily turn this one into a template for your own braised chicken dish. Change the cut of chicken; use your own favorite spice blend to season the flour; deglaze with just about any liquid (broth, alcohol and/or juice) of your choice; and add any canned, canned, fresh or frozen produce you can think of. The possibilities are limitless!

The braised chicken dish of your dreams may be there, waiting for you to discover it – or maybe it’s already right in front of you with Miller’s version as is.

Get the recipe: Braised chicken in white wine and artichokes

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