This is a wonderfully simple dish, filled with an amazing array of bright and briny flavors that create something so simple and wow so good! Artichoke hearts, fennel, capers, garlic, lemon slices plus a generous sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan add so much flavor to juicy and tender braised chicken breasts. I only wish I had added some toasted pine nuts to bring a little bit of awesome crunch to the whole thing.
The arrival of cold season is a definite sign that fall is here and winter is soon to come. Suffering from a cold, as I do every October, chicken soup has definitely been on my mind. Medical myth or not, there’s more to it that than just a placebo effect. Carnosine actually. That’s right, it’s that thing that helps the body’s immune system fight the early stages of flu and ward off colds. Even if it’s too late, at the very least, a chicken soup loaded vegetables contains lots of healthy nutrients, increases hydration and tastes good. In looking for a revitalizing alternative, and discarding any belief that the secret may very well be in the broth, I was thinking tasty chicken itself would do the trick. Together with vitamin C loaded lemon and fennel, surely a winner. And a better alternative to the old world German remedy of drinking warm beer to fend off a cold. Yes, they actually do that.
As a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier, lemons help neutralize acidity and balance the PH levels in your body. Yes, it true. Despite what common sense tells us, lemons are actually highly alkaline. Loaded with vitamin C as well, lemons really do help our bodies function best. I absolutely love a warm lemon water in the mornings or a steaming mug of hot water, lemon and honey when I am fending off a cold.
Fennel is also particularly good for colds, especially fennel tea, as it helps ease the symptoms of a cold and reduces bouts of coughing, and even better…inhaling the steam from boiling fennel leaves in hot water helps alleviate bronchitis. Bingo. So with the power of fennel, and all those other wonderfully fresh flavors, surely I’v created something invigorating and splendidly delicious.
Not only is this lemon chicken really so very easy to make, it also makes great leftovers. Serve with angel hair pasta, couscous or a baguette and a side salad (an arugula or Belgium endive salad works wonderfully with these flavors). Enjoy!
LEMON CHICKEN WITH FENNEL AND ARTICHOKES
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, separated
1 tablespoon butter
2 organic boneless skinless chicken breasts
all-purpose flour seasoned with salt and pepper for dredging the chicken
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1/2 cup white wine (120 ml)
1/3 cup chicken broth (80 ml)
1 x 280 g jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained, reserving 1 tablespoon marinade, quartered (about 4 whole artichoke hearts)
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced thinly
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 organic lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
freshly grated parmesan cheese, garnish
1. The chicken breasts should be at an even thickness. Flatten any thick slices using a meat mallet or rolling pin so that they are even (to do so, place them on a cutting board and cover them with cling wrap first).
2. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess. In a large heavy skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Sauté the chicken until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side, transfer to plate and keep warm.
3. Heat the remaining oil in the pan and add the garlic. Sauté briefly until aromatic. Add the white wine, and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon. Allow the wine reduce a little, then add the broth.
4. Reduce heat to low, return the chicken to the pan, add the reserved marinade from the artichokes, fennel, capers, lemon slices, oregano and a few generous dashes of salt and pepper.
5. Cover and simmer until chicken is almost cooked through, about 10 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts.
6. Uncover, stir in artichokes and simmer until liquid is slightly reduced and chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Serve with grated parmesan. Enjoy!