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.
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!
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.
Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs With Artichokes
Chicken and whipped feta sandwiches are the ideal addition to any springtime picnic basket.
The secret to incredibly flavorful chicken cutlets is a quick marinade in feta brine in advance of grilling. Food & Wine’s Justin Chapple then whips the feta cheese with lemon juice and olive oil to use as a spread for the excellent sandwiches here.
Active: 30 mins Total: 1 hr Yield: 4
1/2 pound feta, crumbled, plus 3/4 cup of the brine
1 tablespoon Louisiana-style hot sauce, preferably Tabasco
Four 4-ounce chicken cutlets
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Four 6-inch ciabatta rolls, split and toasted
Arugula (not baby), sliced cucumber, red onion and seeded piquillo peppers, for serving
In a large resealable plastic bag, mix the feta brine and hot sauce. Add the chicken cutlets, seal the bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the feta cheese and lemon juice. Slowly blend in the 1/3 cup of oil until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat a grill pan. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry; discard the brine. Brush with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the cutlets over moderately high heat, turning once, until cooked through, about 5 minutes total.
Spread the rolls with some of the feta. Top with the chicken, arugula, cucumber, onion and peppers and serve.
Feta-Brined Chicken Sandwiches