Braised Chicken with Artichoke Hearts, Mushrooms, and Pappadew Peppers

Braised Chicken with Artichoke Hearts, Mushrooms, and Pappadew Peppers

After this weekend’s pity party, I’ve recovered nicely, thanks to all of you (and some gym-induced endorphins). We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming…

I’ve been eating—and loving—pappadew peppers for quite a while, but it never occurred to me to cook with them. They’re so good raw (well, they’re sorta pickled, so they’re not exactly raw), in salads or on crackers or straight out of the container. But the other night it was cool enough that I actually felt like doing a little stovetop cooking (even cool, the air was still too warm to risk turning on the oven), and when I was trolling around Epicurious I found a recipe that called for pepperoncini—those hot little green Italian peppers that come in a jar. For years they were a staple in my kitchen, until a certain pepperoncini-popping not-my-boyfriend (who nevertheless hung around on and off for three long years) made me want to banish them from my home forever. Seeing as how they, too, are pickled and small and spicy, I figured pappadews would be a fine substitute.

As I always do with Epicurious recipes, I read the comments before making a final decision, and the vast majority gave this recipe a hearty endorsement. But as so frequently happens on that site, the reviews talked about how each cook had changed the recipe to suit his or her own tastes and pantry. Many of them mentioned swapping marinated artichoke hearts for the canned, plain version called for, with quite a satisfying result. Seeing as I had two jars in the cupboard, but no can, that decision was an easy one. The last thing I changed was using brown crimini mushrooms instead of white, but that’s entirely arbitrary—I just like the brown ones better for some reason.

The end result was quite something, with flavorful, tender, and juicy chicken, enough vegetables to aid in meeting the RDA, and a sauce that was surprisingly rich. The pappadew added a really nice zip, as did the little bit of artichoke marinade (I drained the jars before use, but not completely). This one’s definitely going into my permanent repertoire.

Braised Chicken with Artichoke Hearts, Mushrooms, and Pappadew Peppers
Adapted from Epicurious
Serves 6

2 T. olive oil
3 whole chicken breasts, halved
2 medium onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
12 pappadew peppers, minced
1 red bell pepper, cut into julienne strips
1 10-oz package crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 ½ c. dry white wine
1 c. chicken broth
2 small jars marinated artichoke hearts, mostly drained
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

In a large flameproof dutch oven or casserole [I used Big Blue] heat the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking; in it brown the chicken, patted dry, and transfer the chicken to a plate. In the fat remaining in the skillet cook the onion, the garlic, and the pappadew over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened. Add the bell pepper, the mushrooms, and salt and pepper to taste and cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring, until the bell pepper is softened. Add the wine, the broth, the artichoke hearts, and the chicken, bring the liquid to a boil, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a platter and keep it warm. Using a slotted spoon, remove as many of the vegetables as you can, turn the heat to high, and reduce the sauce until it has thickened nicely. Stir in the parsley return the chicken and vegetables to the pot for one last stir. Serve over noodles [I used whole wheat].

NOTE: If you have leftovers, as I did, it’s a good idea to refrigerate the chicken and vegetables separately from the sauce. The extra fat will congeal on top of the sauce, and you can skim it off before reheating, thus saving a buncha calories.