For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows grace and favor and glory - honor, splendor and heavenly bliss! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Psalms 84:11

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mystery Spice Monday! Lemon Chicken & Artichokes with Dill Sauce

WE HAVE A WINNER!!! Audry was the lucky number 20 and won a dozen coconut macaroons! Fine choice Audry! I'm really excited to make them again, and I really hope you enjoy the results. :)

So today's recipe is using something that's in season right now: artichokes! I LOVE them to pieces, so any excuse to make something involving them is right up my alley. My most recent excuse? I found them at the local Grocery Outlet for $1.50 a box! That's 4 artichokes for $1.50... normal price? Around $4. I really developed a new found appreciation for Grocery Outlet with that deal!

Never worked with fresh artichokes before? Well, there's a first time for everything and when you know the end result is going to be delicious you may willingly accept the extra work. Not convinced? That's ok, go get a box of the frozen ones, no one will ever be the wiser and you'll shave at least 15 minutes off the prep time. I know that's probably what I'll do when I can't find artichokes on sale for $1.50.

WARNING: This recipe, although very simple, does require a lot of steps. But trust me, YOU CAN DO THIS!!! And if you do this for your in-laws next Sunday they will stand up and proclaim your superiority as the most amazing cook ever! Seriously, do not pass this recipe by! Do not say, Wow, that looks great, but will I be able to make it? Yes you CAN! And you should! And really, don't wait for your in-laws! Just make it for your family on a Tuesday just because. Use the leftovers for an amazing chicken salad sandwich. That's what I did. :)

Start out with a pot full of water (amount is not important), slice 2 lemons, squeeze the juice into the water and throw the rest of the lemon seeds and all right in there.

Before you turn it on to boil prepare your artichokes. If you're at all like me and have never done this before you may find this video helpful:

The first time I made this recipe (yes, we've eaten it every week since I found those artichokes on sale!) I followed the above video exactly. But then I kind of felt like there was too much of the artichoke being stripped away by all the cutting, so I used this method instead.

First I trimmed off some of the bottom leaves and trimmed the end off the stem.

Then I got out my big knife and chopped off the top bunch of leaves.

That revealed the heart, which is the part we want.

Then I started pulling off the leaves by hand. They came off easily, plus it leaves more of the good part on the heart.

I kept taking off the leaves and eventually I got down to this part.

And once I pulled off those delicate inner leaves I was able to reveal the choke. The choke is inedible, so you have to remove all that fuzzy stuff.

I used a teaspoon for that and it was pretty easy.

And once all that fuzzy part was off I had a beautiful artichoke heart!

As I was in the middle of preparing my artichokes I realized that Ziva had learned how to climb out of her crib for the first time after her nap. Yikes!!! So I had to run upstairs and get her and didn't end up with a picture of me boiling the artichokes. Oh well! You understand right? lol

Basically, once you're done with each artichoke heart you should put it directly into the lemon water to prevent them from browning. And then once you're done with ALL of them bring the water to a boil and let them simmer for about 20 minutes, or until they're tender. This entire process can be done up to a day in advance, and if I was making this for company that's exactly what I'd do. If you are making them a day ahead, then just let them cool and refrigerate them in a sealed container.

Next, the marinade! Add 2/3 cup of wine (I used blush, but you could also use white), 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/3 cup of olive oil, and 12 cloves of garlic. Yes, it is a lot of garlic. I used the jarred stuff, but if I were using fresh I'd probably use less.

Whisk it all together.

And throw in 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts. The original recipe is for a whole chicken cut into pieces, and you could certainly do that. I don't like to mess with skin and bones so I never go that route. Let them marinate for about 20 minutes.

Then lay them out on a lined cookie sheet and season them with salt & pepper. Throw them in the oven for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.

Then put your cooked artichoke hearts into the same marinade. If you're using frozen boxed ones you'd put them in here after they've thawed.

Then when the chicken has cooked for 20 minutes, remove the artichokes from the marinade and add them to the same sheet as the chicken. Put it back in the oven for 10 more minutes.

Then remove both the chicken and the artichokes to a plate. Cover them with foil to keep warm.

Then you take the marinade and put it in a sauce pan. Add any cooking juices from the chicken pan. If you used skin on chicken you might have a lot of juices, in that case only use up to 1 1/4 cups of juices. Whisk in 3-4 egg yolks.

Whisk constantly over medium-high heat until sauce boils and thickens, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1-2 tablespoons of dill (Mystery Spice!). Season to taste with salt & pepper.

And then slather your food with that delicious sauce!

The sauce really DOES make this meal! It is soooo good! I wish you could come over so I could make it for ya. :)

Lemon Chicken & Artichokes with Dill Sauce
Adapted from

2 lemons, halved
8 large artichokes (or a box of frozen unmarinated ones)
2/3 cup of wine, blush or white
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
12 garlic cloves (or 6 teaspoons of the jarred stuff)
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 2 whole chickens cut into parts)

3-4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons of dill

Squeeze lemons into a pot of salted water. Add lemons. Trim artichokes and add to pot of lemon water. Once all artichoke hearts are added bring water to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until they are soft. Remove artichokes with a slotted spoon and reserve them on a plate, or cool and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk wine, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic in a large bowl. Add chicken. Marinate for 20 minutes. Remove chicken and arrange on a lined baking sheet. Reserve marinade. Bake for 20 minutes.

Place artichokes in reserved marinade for 20 minutes (while chicken is cooking). Transfer artichokes to baking sheet with chicken. Bake for 10 more minutes or until chicken reaches internal temp of 170 degrees.

Once chicken is cooked remove both chicken and artichokes to a plate and tent with foil. Pour reserved marinade and up to 1 1/4 cup of cooking juices into a sauce pan. Whisk in egg yolks and cook over medium-high heat until the sauce is reduced and thickened, about 3 minutes. Add dill and salt & pepper to taste.

Serve with rice or pasta, spoon sauce over chicken. Pass additional sauce around the table for people to use as they wish.

Wanna participate in Mystery Spice Monday?? Please do! Just read up on my easy peasy piddly guidelines over on the right hand side there, create your own blog post with your own Mystery Spice Recipe, and then link up!


Kristina P. said...

My mom would make artichokes all the time. We would have a bowl for the leaves, and mayo and butter as well. But, my husband doesn't like them, so I've never prepared them myself!

sunnymum said...

Artichokes sound yummy! Thanks for sharing. You've inspired me to create my own Mystery Spice Monday dish. Have a great week!

Kelly said...

I tried to use artichokes one time and I couldn't believe how much work it was to get the heart. I didn't even know what the heart part was exactly but your pictures have cleared it up now. I still think I would take the easy route and use canned ones next time.

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