Monthly Archives: February 2013

Roasted Balsamic Chicken with Artichoke

Roasted Balsamic Chicken with Artichoke served with Baby Potatoes and Arugula

This is one of those dinners that looks like you fussed, but…you didn’t. You probably already have a lot of these things in your cabinets and fridge. There is a lot of flavor in this dish, but they all compliment each other. I love the bits of sweetness from the currants and the sun dried tomatoes with the tartness from the vinegar. I serve this with the simple potato dish below because it doesn’t need anything more than that.

Roasted Balsamic Chicken with Artichoke

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 12 to 16 boneless, skinless thighs
1/4 C. balsamic vinegar
2 t. wholegrain mustard (Dijon is fine too)
1 t. honey
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1/4 t. dried oregano
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
6 sun dried tomatoes, finely sliced
1/8 C. currants
1 8 oz can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
4 -5 fresh basil leaves, torn

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse the chicken breasts or thighs and dry them well.  Place them in a large baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients up to the currants.  Pour over the chicken pieces.  Using tongs, flip each piece over a few times to make sure they are coated well. Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.

Scatter the artichokes over the top of the chicken.  Continue to roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches about 160 degrees. Garnish with fresh basil.

Baby Potatoes with Arugula

1 lb. Trader Joe’s Teeny Tiny Potatoes (seriously, that’s what they are called!), or any small potato
2 T. olive oil
4 C. arugula
salt and pepper

Boil the potatoes in a medium pot over high heat for about 8 minutes or so. Check tenderness with a fork.

Once done, drain the potatoes into a sieve and allow to sit. In that same pot over medium high heat, add the olive oil and the arugula. Sauté until tender, just a couple of minutes, then add the potatoes back to the pot. Stir to coat with the oil, add salt and pepper, then serve.

Notes:

  • When using canned artichoke hearts, it’s important to rinse them a bit or your dish will be really salty.  You can use frozen artichoke hearts instead of canned.  Just remove them from the freezer, rinse under cold water and drain well in a sieve.
  • If you do not have shallots, you can use about 1 tablespoon of finely chopped onion and a small clove of garlic, minced.
  • Update: I recently made this in a skillet and it turned out beautifully. It was very quick and really delicious! I used chicken cutlets. If you buy a package of boneless breasts, just slice them horizontally to get two thin pieces, or pound one piece into one large thin cutlet. Sear the breasts until golden, about 3 minutes per side, on high heat in a skillet with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Combine the vinegar through the currants in a small bowl (omit the olive oil). Once the breasts are golden, add the vinegar mixture. Sauté a minute, then add the artichoke. Simmer to heat the artichoke all the way through. Remove from heat. Add the basil and serve.
Roasted Balsamic Chicken with Artichoke
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Mussels Marinara or Fra Diavolo for the Brave!

Mussels Marinara or Fra Diavolo

Anytime I eat mussels or clams I think of my Dad. When my sisters and I were very young, he’d take us to out-of-the-way, obscure restaurants or clam bars to get some of the most fresh and amazing seafood. I remember being so young, that I’d have to sit on my knees to see over the top of the bucket of clams or mussels that they’d set in front of me. We each had a bucket to ourselves and we dug in with both fists and devoured them! I can still see the proud smile on my Dad’s face as he looked at his three girls, elbows deep in spent shells. I miss that smile every single day.

This is one of my favorite ways to eat mussels. This is my basic Marinara, but with a sprinkling of red chili flakes, it becomes Fra Diavolo! I used to serve this with pasta, but I’d end up eating half a loaf of bread anyway. The sauce is the best part. So, now, I skip the pasta and just buy the best baguette I can find. Dipping that bread into the sauce is heavenly.

Mussels Marinara or Fra Diavolo

Mussels Marinara or Fra Diavolo

1/4 C. olive oil
4 – 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 C. dry, crisp white wine, such as a Pinot Grigio
1 28 oz. can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
pinch of sea salt and a few cracks of black pepper
about 1/4 to 1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes if you’d like Fra Diavolo
4 lbs. mussels (I use Prince Edward Island Mussels)
1/2 bunch of fresh parsley
1 or 2 baguettes, warmed, for serving

In a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic for about 2 minutes, being careful not to brown it. Add the wine and bring the heat up to high. Bring the wine to a boil and simmer for another two minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the tomatoes (I crush the whole tomatoes out of the can by hand, removing any hard stem end and discarding those. Then, pour the remaining sauce from the can into the pot as well). Add the salt and the peppers.

Once the sauce is at a light simmer, add the mussels, give them a stir, raise the heat to medium and cover the pot. Cook for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until all of the mussels have opened, then stir in the parsley.

Serve with the warm baguette or over pasta, if desired.

Notes:

  • There are a lot of different methods people use to “clean” their mussels. I know. I’ve tried them all! There’s soaking them in water with cornstarch, cornmeal or flour. Honestly, I haven’t noticed any of those methods working much better than just soaking them in a large bowl for about 15 to 20 minutes in cold water and a little bit of sea salt. That’s what I do. But then, I don’t scrub the mussels either. I’ll pull an occasional beard here and there, but honestly, I’m weird. I’m ok with that stuff! And really, a lot of the mussels in the stores now are “rope cultured,” so they are pretty clean. If you’ve got a method that works well, let me know. Click on “Leave a reply” below. I’d love to hear from you!