Thursday, July 30, 2009

Baked Chicken with Artichokes

If you like the classic hot artichoke dip (served in every American house where three or more women are gathered), then you will love this. It's an easy do-mostly-ahead dish for a Christmas buffet—or even just to have ready on a busy family night. I used low-fat ingredients in this and it tasted great. I don’t think full-fat is needed, but non-fat cream cheese and mayo would not work at all.

2 shallots, minced (about ¼ cup)
1/3 cup light cream cheese, microwaved for 15 seconds to soften
2 teaspoons dry white wine
4 canned artichoke hearts, drained and minced
¼ cup milk
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (good quality makes a difference)
2 tablespoons low-fat Hellmann’s mayonnaise
Salt to taste
10 pieces of smoked, streaky bacon, cooked until crisp (this can be omitted, or minced prosciutto can be substituted)
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Butter to smear or unflavored cooking spray
A dribble of more dry white wine

1) If cooking immediately, pre-heat the oven to 185 C (literally 365 F, just set it at 375F). Place all ingredients, from shallots down to salt, into a bowl and stir to combine well. Mix in the cooked bacon or prosciutto. Taste and season with salt. This can be made up to one day ahead and stashed, covered in the fridge.

2) When ready to cook—make sure that the oven is properly pre-heated. Smear butter in a baking dish that will fit the 6 chicken breasts snugly—or spray with unflavored cooking spray. Nestle (yes, nestle) the chicken breasts in the pan and sprinkle just a bit of salt over them. Now, spoon the artichoke mixture over top—blanketing them, if you will. Pour in just a dribble of wine around the bottom of the pan. Cover with a lid or aluminium foil and bake for 30 minutes, then removed the lid or foil and continue to bake for 15 to 30 minutes more, until succulent, juicy and cooked through.

Serve piping hot with rice and steamed asparagus. Serves 6.

1 comment:

Michelle Daniel said...

I made this tonight for dinner. I just happened to have all the ingredients on hand because I'd planned to make spinach and artichoke dip next weekend when a couple of friends come over. How funny it that? You nailed this American woman.

My daughter gave it a 7 and scarfed it down. My son gave it a 500 but hardly ate two bites (he also didn't eat any desert so I don't know what was up).

Speaking of desert. When you say you always have chocolate chip cookies in your freezer, do you mean the baked cookies or dough?