Spring brings us artichokes and tarragon. This classic pairing, with their elements of green, reminds me of how the land replenishes itself. Artichokes are sort of oddball flowers — they are the blossom of a thistle species that were cultivated by ancient Greeks and Romans as a food. The bud is edible, and has a high level of antioxidants, making it a superfood. I love artichokes as a vegetable all on their own, but combining them with tarragon and chicken seals the deal as an elegant force to be reckoned with. Artichokes lend an earthy flavor to a dish. They taste a bit like the fried white of an egg. Paired with tarragon, known for its anise, or licorice notes, this chicken has rich flavor with some bittersweet elements.
Chicken and Artichokes with Tarragon Recipe
4 lbs bone-in chicken pieces, mixed dark and white meat
4 T unsalted butter, divided
2 T grape seed oil
2 small carrots, peeled, diced
1 stalk celery, trimmed and diced
1 small onion, diced
3 T parsley leaves, chopped
2 T dried tarragon
1 – 12 ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and gently rinsed to remove salt
2 cups medium dry white wine
2 cups low-salt chicken stock
juice of 1/2 lemon
Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
In large, deep skillet, add oil and butter and heat over medium-high until froth from butter has subsided.
Brown chicken on both sides in batches until skin is darkly colored. Remove to clean plate.
Add onions, carrots and celery and sauté over medium heat until tender and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add wine and increase heat to bring to boil, then reduce, stirring and scraping up browned residue, until there is about 1/3 cup. Add chicken stock and tarragon. Return chicken to skillet and bring heat up to boil. Lower heat, gently add artichokes, and simmer covered until chicken is very tender, about 45 minutes.
Remove chicken to clean bowl and bring sauce to boil to thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon. Swirl in remaining 2 T butter, parsley and lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste. Return chicken and any collected juices back to skillet and coat with sauce.
Pair with mashed or boiled new potatoes or pasta.
Stephanie Davis, a wine educator on Wine Two Five, says that artichokes are rumored to clash with wine. Even so, when there is enough acid, such as the lemon juice and white wine you’ll find in this recipe, combined with salt seasoning, wine pairs with almost anything. She suggested a not-so-common white grape, Arneis — which translates in local Italian dialect to “little rascal” — as an adventurous choice for a mouthwatering dish like this one. Arneis vines grow primarily in Piedmont, Italy and make a medium bodied, dry, pretty white wine. Priced around $22/bottle.
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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished, https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.