Monday, February 16, 2009

Saffron Chicken and Artichoke Gnocchi

This is a yummy winter dish—but the golden color imparted from the saffron gives it the hope of Spring to come. It is a two step recipe where the first half can be done ahead of time and held in the refrigerator until ready to throw it all together. Although it is a lusciously creamy dish it is relatively low in fat.

1 and ½ cups milk (whole, 2% or skim)
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 3 boneless, skinless breasts
1 heaping teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons dry white wine
3 canned artichoke hearts, chopped
Dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon cream
Sea or Kosher salt to taste (do not fear the salt!)
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated

Gnocchi to serve 4

1) Pour the milk into a pot and add in the chicken and saffron. Cover and place over a medium heat—bring to a very gentle simmer. Make sure that it doesn’t boil over (what a mess!). Poach the chicken in milk until it is done, roughly 15 to 20 minutes. Once they are cooked through, removed the chicken from the milk and pour the milk into a heat-proof bowl. Reserve for the sauce (this all may be done up to a day ahead of time and held in the refrigerator). Shred or chop the chicken.

2) 30 minutes before you would like to eat—Place a large pot of salted, hot water over high heat, cover and bring to a boil (this is for the gnocchi). Place he butter into a medium sauce pot, set over medium heat and allow the butter to become frothy, then add in the shallots and sauté until soft (2 minutes, tops). Now add in the flour and stir often, cook for 1-2 minutes, but do not allow to brown. Now add in the white wine and stir. Now add in the milk, stir regularly until it thickens and comes to a gentle simmer (do not boil). Add in the artichoke hearts, shredded chicken, red pepper and cream. Taste and season with salt, keeping in mind that you are just about to add Parmesan cheese which is salty, too.

3) Remove the sauce from the heat. Add the gnocchi into the pot of now boiling water and cook according to package directions. Stir the Parmesan cheese into the sauce, taste and adjust seasoning. Toss sauce will with gnocchi.

Serve with fresh cracked black pepper over top and pass more Parmesan. Serves 4

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