Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs With Artichokes

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs With Artichokes

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs with Artichokes, Leeks and Tarragon cooked over baby potatoes. A simple spring dinner to highlight the season’s bounty. 
This braised chicken recipe sings of Spring with fresh artichoke hearts, tarragon and leeks.  The star of this dish is easily fresh artichokes- and it’s best to save this recipe until they are in season and in abundance.  Not only will they be less expensive, they will be at their peak of flavor.



Braised Crispy Chicken Thighs with Artichoke hearts, leeks, potatoes and tarragon- a delicious one-pan recipe perfect for spring! 



Pieces of chicken thighs are simply seasoned with kosher salt and pepper and seared in a skillet. In the same pan, fresh artichoke hearts are sauteed with leeks and baby potatoes, then de-glazed with vermouth (or white wine) and chicken stock. Fresh tarragon leaves and lemon zest are added along with a tiny little bit of cream. The chicken thighs are nestled down in this lovely spring goodness, and it all goes in the oven for a bit. When it comes out, the chicken is juicy and crispy, and the artichokes flavorful and tender.  A delicious one-pot meal.





We’ve had a unusually warm Spring here and our city is exploding with blossoms.
Mothers day came and went, and the dogwood we planted (for my mother) burst out in white, shouting, I’m still here. The Lilies of the Valley returned quietly, laden with tiny white bells, unbelievably fragrant.
I’ve been thinking about flowers lately.  How quickly they bloom… and then go – their sole purpose being opening,
becoming fully what they are, no matter how temporary.

Last evening, while walking through the lilac grove, smelling each one, I thought to myself (a little morbidly) that I probably only have forty more springs to experience all this loveliness, if I’m lucky. And suddenly all the blossoms and all the flower smells in the night air…seemed so much more important.

This morning, as I study at the sleepy blossoms outside my window, I wonder, will I ever fully open? Some things just can’t be forced. We are, what we are when we are. But today at least, I feel somewhat willing.

Through the years, I’ve been a witness to this in others- the gradual opening of those close to me. Watching them become more and more of who they are. It is a beautiful thing to behold. It moves me.





Prepare a bowl of cold water with lemon juice. This will keep the artichoke hearts from browning. Working quickly, one artichoke at a time, snap off the tough outer petals.  I like to save mine for the next day, in a zip lock bag. These can be blanched, marinated and then grilled for a tasty side or  appetizer. Here is a marinade for grilled artichokes that I use repeatedly with good success.





Once the tough green petals are snapped off, you will see silky yellow petals which must come off too. Just pull them off with your fingers. Remember to work quickly to prevent browning.





Finally,  you will get to the fine thread-like filaments. These are inedible, even when cooked, so using a spoon, firmly and gently pry them off.

If you get the edge of your spoon, in just the right spot, they will come off easily.





Once these are off, using a sharp paring knife, quickly trim the artichoke edges and stem- removing the tough skin of the stem and the bottom 1/2 inch or so. Immediately immerse in a bowl of cold lemon water, to help prevent browning.





You can cut a whole chicken into pieces, or use chicken thighs. Pat dry, sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper and sear in a hot skillet. I usually cook the bottom side longer than the tops, because the tops will brown in the oven, and you don’t want them overly brown. Once seared, set them aside.





After draining off some of the chicken fat, in the same pan, you will saute the leeks, artichokes and potatoes with a little butter.

For this dish, I use tiny baby potatoes, just cut in half.  Whatever potatoes you use, make sure they are cut to about a 1/2 inch thick,  so they cook to the proper done-ness.

When ready to saute the artichokes, pull them out of the lemon water and slice them to 1/4 inch thick.
Sometimes I’ll throw in some pearl onions. Mushrooms would taste good too. Or fresh English peas. Or caramelized fennel bulb. Make it your own.





This recipe calls for a 1/4 cup of fresh tarragon, which to me, pairs really well with artichoke hearts. But,  if you are not a fan of tarragon, fresh sage is a really good alternative.

Once the artichokes, leeks and potatoes are just tender, after about 10 minutes, de-glaze with Vermouth (or white wine). Bring to a boil and reduce by half, about 5 minutes.

Add stock, lemon zest and fresh tarragon and a little half and half. Once simmering, give a quick stir and taste for salt. You may need to add a pinch of salt and pepper. Nestle chicken into it so the undersides are immersed in the liquid and skin sides are up. Place in a hot  425F oven for 20-30 minutes or until thighs register 180F or breasts reach 160F.  If not crisp enough, place under the broiler for a few minutes.





When it comes out, it will be fragrant and delicious. Serve with crusty bread, a salad and white wine.



Braised Crispy Chicken Thighs with Artichoke hearts, leeks, potatoes and tarragon- a delicious one-pan recipe perfect for spring! 



Braised Crispy Chicken Thighs with Artichoke hearts, leeks, potatoes and tarragon- a delicious one-pan recipe perfect for spring!



Braised Crispy Chicken Thighs with Artichoke hearts, leeks, potatoes and tarragon- a delicious one-pan recipe perfect for spring! 

Hope you enjoy this recipe and leave your notes  in the comments below!




  • 4 large artichokes, trimmed and sliced
  • one lemon, zest and juice.
  • 6 chicken thighs (bone in skin on)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon butter, divided.
  • 1 large leek, sliced and rinsed, drained.
  • 2 cups tiny potatoes sliced ( 1/4 thick in pieces)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 cup vermouth or white wine.
  • 1 Cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 Cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon, divided
  • Optional Addtions: Mushrooms, ramps, pearl onions, fresh English peas, fennel bulb



Zest the lemon, set zest aside.

Prep the artichokes. Fill a med bowl with 4 cups cold water and squeeze with the juice from the lemon. Because artichokes will easily brown, work on one at a time as quickly as possible. Snap off all the hard out leaves using your fingers ( Save for later) With a sharp paring knife, trim off all the outer green skin around the base and stem, keeping the stem in tact. Remove the yellowish soft leaves and using a spoon, gently scrape away the white or purple silk like threads. Immediately place in the lemon water, to prevent browning. Slice just before placing in the skillet.

Preheat oven to 425F. Pat chicken dry and season with kosher salt and pepper. Heat 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil in a heavy bottom oven proof skillet over med high heat. Place chicken skin side down and sear for until golden, about 5 minutes. Turn and brown undersides until golden, about 7-8 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside. Drain some of the chicken fat, leaving about 1 tablespoon oil in the pan. Add 1 tablespoon more butter. Add leeks, sliced artichokes, sliced potatoes and fennel seeds. Saute on med heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until they just begin to soften. Season with a generous pinch of kosher salt and pepper.

Deglaze the pan with vermouth (or white wine). Reduce by half, about 4 minutes. Add stock, mustard and fennel seeds, half and half, half of the fresh tarragon and 1/2 of the zest. Give a stir, bring to a simmer, and taste broth adjusting salt and pepper. Nestle the chicken pieces into the stew with skin sides up, and roast in a hot 425 F oven for 20-30 minutes, until golden, and thigh internal temp is 170F, or breast internal temp is 160F. If needed, broil for a couple minutes to get skin extra crispy.

Garnish with remaining lemon zest and fresh tarragon before serving.


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Almond dukkah chicken bake with amaranth and herbs

Almond dukkah chicken bake with amaranth and herbs

Bursting with flavours, this is anything but your average roast chook.





200g amaranth (from health food shops)
15 unpeeled garlic cloves, bruised
2 baby fennel, cut into eighths
8 Asian (red) eschalots, halved
2 tbs currants
2 tbs finely chopped preserved lemon rind
1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
1.2kg whole chicken, butterflied (ask your butcher to do this)
2/3 cup (165ml) chicken stock
1/2 bunch each mint, parsley and basil leaves
Lemon wedges, to serve
1 tbs each cumin, coriander and fennel seeds, toasted
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tbs chopped roasted almonds



1.For the almond dukkah, using a mortar and pestle, pound seeds until coarsely ground. Stir through chilli flakes, almonds and 1/2 tsp salt flakes, and set aside.

2.Place amaranth and 2 cups (500ml) water in a saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes or until amaranth has absorbed water and is tender.

3.Preheat oven to 220°C and grease a shallow roasting pan.

4.Cover base of prepared pan evenly with cooked amaranth. Combine garlic, fennel, eschalot, currants, lemon and 1 tbs oil in a bowl, then arrange over amaranth. Top with chicken, breast-side up. Spoon remaining 2 tbs oil over chicken and roast, on top shelf of oven, for 15 minutes or until chicken is slightly golden.

How to: Butterfly chicken
5.Reduce oven to 200°C, carefully add stock and roast for 45-50 minutes or until juices of chicken run clear when the thickest part of a thigh is pierced with a skewer. Remove from oven, scatter with herbs and almond dukkah, and serve with lemon wedges.



Almond dukkah chicken bake with amaranth and herbs
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Hawaiian Chicken Long Rice

Hawaiian Chicken Long Rice

Chicken Long Rice is a staple at most Hawaiian Luaus where it is served as a side dish.  It’s a favorite island comfort food, something in between Chicken Noodle Soup and Chicken Stew, and usually eaten with steamed white rice.

Chicken long rice uses clear bean thread noodles.  Those are noodles made with mung bean starch and are thin and clear.  They’re also called Chinese Vermicelli, Cellophane Noodles, or Glass Noodles.  You can buy them at any Asian Market.

The dish is pretty much the same as its Filipino counterpart called Sotanghon.  Both originated in China and was brought over to the Hawaiian islands by Chinese and Filipino immigrants. Whatever its origins it’s one of my favorite go to comfort food.  Best of all it’s super simple to make.  It’s great on chilly or rainy days and wonderful when you have a slight cold.  Try it out next time you’ve a yen for Chicken Soup!

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Chicken Long Rice


5-6 Chicken thighs with bone and skin


1 Tbs. Oil

1 Tbs. Fresh grated ginger root

1 Tbs. minced garlic

1 Cup Chicken Stock

1 Tsp. Salt

2 Tbs. Soy Sauce

1 Package Bean Thread Noodles

1/4 Cup chopped green onions

2 cloves garlic thinly sliced (optional)

1/2 Tbs. Oil (optional)


Heat oil in a stock pot.

Saute garlic and chicken thighs until thighs start to turn yellow.

Add enough water in the pot to cover the chicken with water.

Add chicken stock, ginger, and salt.

Simmer until chicken is very well cooked and falling off the bone.

Remove chicken skin and bones.  Discard skin and bone.  Shred chicken meat into large pieces and return to pot.

Add noodles, soy sauce, and 3/4 of the chopped green onions.

Stir and cook until noodles are soft and transparent.

*Optional – fry garlic slices in 1/2 tbs. oil until they turn brown.  Drain on paper towels.

Remove from heat and garnish with remaining with remaining green onion. Garnish with fried garlic.




Hawaiian Chicken Long Rice
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Roast grouse with blackcurrant & beetroot sauce

Roast grouse with blackcurrant & beetroot sauce


Available from August, this game bird is best served with a fresh, full-flavoured fruit sauce and a dash of whisky to boot



4 young grouse, legs removed and reserved

50g unsalted butter

4 thyme sprigs

1 large or 2 small shallots, finely chopped

4 slices pancetta

4 slices white country bread, buttered

buttered spinach, to serve (optional)

For the sauce

1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp sunflower oil
8 grouse
legs (see above)
1 shallot, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 thyme sprig
2 tbsp whisky
600ml chicken stock
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
50g blackcurrant, topped and tailed
50g cooked beetroot, coarsely grated
1 tbsp crème de cassis


1. First make the stock for the sauce: place a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. When it is hot, melt the butter with the sunflower oil. Add the grouse legs and brown in the pan for 4-5 mins, turning regularly. Add the shallot, bay leaf, thyme and whisky, and reduce the heat. Allow any liquid to evaporate, then add the chicken stock. Press the legs down in the stock so that they are all covered. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer and cook gently for 1 hr.


2. Discard the legs. Strain the stock into a clean pan and reduce, over a medium heat, until you have about 300ml. Allow this to cool, then cover and chill if not using immediately. Can be done a day ahead up to this stage. You can finish the sauce once the grouse are cooked.


3. Clean the grouse: remove any remaining feathers, and rinse the birds inside and out with cold water. Pat them dry with kitchen paper. Divide the butter between the cavities of the birds, and add to each a thyme sprig and some chopped shallot. Season the birds inside and out, and wrap a slice of pancetta over the top of each bird. The birds are now ready to cook, but can be chilled for several hours if necessary – allow them to come to room temperature before you cook them (this will take 1 hr or so).


4. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Place the grouse in a roomy roasting tin and the buttered slices of bread on a baking tray – they will toast at the same time as the grouse cook. To cook the grouse to medium, put in the oven for 18-20 mins. Keep an eye on the toasts and remove them when they are golden brown. The grouse are cooked when the breasts feel firm to the touch. If you have a cooking thermometer, cook them so that the thickest part of the breast, just above the wing, registers 55C.


5. Remove the birds from the oven. Place each on a piece of the buttered toast to absorb any juices that drain from the birds. Cover loosely with a piece of foil and leave to rest for 10 mins while you finish the sauce.


6. Put the roasting tin on the heat and, when it is warm, add the grouse stock. Let it simmer, scraping the juices from the bottom so that they dissolve in the stock. Add the redcurrant jelly, blackcurrants, beetroot, and finally the cassis. Simmer the sauce for 3-4 mins, then remove from the heat and season to taste. Serve the grouse on heated plates with a little sauce drizzled around, and some buttered spinach, if you like.

Roast grouse with blackcurrant & beetroot sauce
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Chicken Paella

Chicken Paella

Paella is probably Spain’s most popular dish.  It originated in the Valencia region located in Eastern Spain but can be found worldwide specially in countries that were once part of colonial Spain namely Cuba and the Philippines where it is also call Arroz Valenciana.

The word Paella mean “pan” in the Valencian dialect.  It is usually made and served in a “paella” pan which is basically a somewhat flat shallow skillet with or without a cover.  It is typically made with Bomba rice, a short grain rice variety cultivated in Spain’s eastern region.  Traditional Valencian Paella includes some type of meat such as chicken, duck, or rabbit, and some type of green bean.  It’s iconic yellow colored rice is achieved by adding saffron threads while cooking.

In modern time Paella has been adapted to use ingredients easily found in different areas of the country.  One of the most popular, an my favorite is Paella de Marisco which is seafood mixed with the rice.  This usually has shrimp, mussels or clams, squid, and sometimes lobster; is usually omits the vegetables.  Then there’s Paella Mixta which combines meats including Chorizo (Spanish pork sausage), seafood, and vegetables.  In short these days you can pretty much put whatever you want in a pealla.  My husband prefers chicken or vegetarian Paella.

When I was growing up surrounded by grandmothers, aunts, and uncles many of whom were fantastic cooks, Arroz Valenciana or Paella was a treat.  It would certainly be on a party menu, specially at Christmas.  These days I usually have to get my Paella fix in Spain.  It’s always one of our favorites when we’re in Barcelona, Majorca, or any part of Spain.

But since our yearly visits to Spain will not be possible this year we’ve found ourselves missing our favorite Spanish foods.  That’s why I’ve been making tapas boards lately.  I’ve also been making Paella.  In fact I’ve been making it often enough that’s I’ve recently decided to order a paella pan.

Today I’ll share my recipe for Chicken Paella because it’s ingredients are probably the easiest to find.  In fact you may already have it in your kitchen pantry.  I mentioned that Paellas are typically made with Bomba rice, but it’s not always easy to find in the US, at least in Hawaii.  I usually use Japanese short grain rice, the type you use to make sushi which is always found at any Asian market.  Saffron is not easily found in regular supermarkets  because it’s pretty expensive.  I usually buy Saffron when I’m in Turkey or the Middle East where it’s readily available at the local spice markets at a reasonably lower price.  If you don’t have Saffron you can use ground Turmeric to tint the rice yellow, but don’t use too much as it will leave a different flavor than what you want to achieve.  I’d use no more than a teaspoon of turmeric powder dissolved in a cup of chicken stock.

Chicken Paella


1/2 Tsp. Crushed Saffron Threads

1/2 Cup White Wine

1/8 Cup Olive Oil

6-8 Chicken Thighs Bone-In with Skin

1 Tsp. Salt

1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper

1 Onion Chopped

2 Tbl. Minced Garlic

1 Tbs. Fresh Thyme chopped

1 1/2 Cup uncooked Bomba or other short grain rice

3 Cups Chicken Stock

Juice of 1 Lemon

1 Small Bag Frozen Peas

1 Red Pepper cut into strips

American Parsley – chopped (optional)

Lemon Wedges (optional)


Stir Saffron into wine and set aside.

Heat Olive Oil in Paella pan or large skillet.

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.

Place thighs in heated oil skin side down and cook until golden brown, about 6-7 minutes.

Turn over and cook another 4-5 minutes.

Remove chicken from pan and set aside.  (You may have to cook chicken in batches depending on how big your pan is and how many thighs you are using.)

Add onions, garlic, and thyme to pan.  Cook for about 2 minutes, stir constantly to keep it from burning.

Add Rice and cook another 2 minutes while stirring constantly.

Add wine and cook until liquid is reduced by half.

Stir in lemon juice and chicken stock.

Place chicken skin side  up on top of rice, cover, reduce heat to medium.

Simmer about 18 minutes until rice is almost cooked, it should be “al dente”.

Remove cover and add peas and pepper evenly over the pan.

Turn up heat to medium high and cook another 5 minutes or until rice begins to brown on the bottom and sides.

Remove from heat and sprinkle with parsley.

Serve hot with lemon wedges.

This dish pairs well with a pitcher of Sangria or a nice bottle of fruity red wine or a Chardonnay for white wine lovers.

Chicken Paella
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