Spinach Artichoke Chicken
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- 6 ea Chicken Thighs, Boneless, Skinless
- 4 Tbsp Butter, Salted
- Salt & Pepper, To Taste
- Approx. 1 Tbsp Paprika
- 2 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
- 4 cloves Garlic, Finely Chopped
- 1 Tbsp Flour, All Purpose
- 1/2 cup Sour Cream
- 1/2 cup Parmesan and/or Romano Cheese, Finely Grated
- 10 oz container Baby Spinach, Ready to Eat
- 1, 14 oz can Quartered Artichoke Hearts, Drained
Here's What You Do
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Rinse the chicken thighs under cold water and lay on a sheet pan layered with paper towels to dry. Pat the chicken dry on top, then season with salt, pepper, and paprika.
- Heat a 12" cast iron skillet to medium high. When heated add 2 Tbsp butter. When butter is melted place the chicken thighs in the pan to sear*.
- Meanwhile, grate the cheese, drain the artichokes, measure the stock, chop the garlic.
- When the chicken is browned, move it to a plate lined with paper towels so the fat can drain. Immediately add the stock to the skillet, so that you can deglaze* the pan, removing all of the tasty bits of chicken and brown butter. When the pan is clean transfer the liquid to a bowl for later. Add the sour cream to this bowl of stock and chicken bits and stir rapidly with a fork or whisk.
- Return the cast iron pan to heat, reducing to medium. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp butter. When melted, add the chopped garlic. Saute briefly until the aroma is released.
- Sprinkle the flour into the butter/garlic. Stir, rapidly, to coat the flour in butter and cook without burning. This is sometimes called making a "roux." (roo) The flour is going to make your sauce thicker. You want to cook the flour in oil before adding liquid, because flour cooks quickly over high heat in fat, but will take a long time to cook in a liquid. The flavor of raw flour is only pleasant in cookie dough! Be careful because these ingredients can burn quickly.
- Quickly pour the stock/sour cream mixture back into the pan, stirring rapidly to prevent lumps. When mixed well sprinkle in the cheese and stir until smooth.
- Add the spinach and artichokes to the sauce. Gently toss the spinach until it is wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place the chicken thighs back into the pan.
- Move the pan to the oven and cook at 400F for 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, then serve the chicken over the spinach artichoke mixture.
Why do we Sear meat? What is searing? Searing is starting out a protein on higher heat than you would normally cook it, so that you can caramelize the protein via the Maillard reaction. This changes the flavor and outer texture of the meat in a way that lower heat cooking cannot achieve. Think brown, crispy bits.
Deglazing is what you do when you add liquid to a really hot pan in order to release everything browned and stuck onto the bottom. All those flavorful bits then become a part of the liquid you use to deglaze, and add a ton of flavor to your dish.
© 2016 Melissa Althen
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