Chicken, Artichoke & Baby Bella Casserole

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I’ve been familiar with the prolific Jean Anderson since reading her ambitious 1997-published American Century Cookbook, featuring the 500 favorite recipes of the 20th century (with plenty of legend, lore, fact and fodder.) So, I welcome any new Jean Anderson contribution as worth exploring. Her latest, From a Southern Oven, continues Jean’s love affair with the cooking of the South, this time giving equal time to both savories and sweets. As is often the case, it takes a little living with a cookbook (and some trial and re-trial) to find the recipe “keepers”–dishes that aren’t just interesting or good, but really-really good. This is one of those. Anderson’s rendition of a decades-old favorite from one-time Ladies’ Home Journal editor Jean Todd Freeman, this dolled-up-with-veggies chicken fricassee is easy to make, very flavorful and oh-rare-and-wonderful-thing: tastes just as good as leftovers as it did first out of the oven. I’ve adapted the recipe just slightly to specify artichoke bottoms rather than marinated hearts, because the bottoms have “no prickles” as my daughter Emily puts it.

Makes six servings

Casserole Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp thyme (I used fresh lemon thyme, but dried thyme is fine)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 to 3 1/2 pounds chicken pieces (a mix of light and dark pieces)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2, 8-oz packages baby bella (cremini) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 2 cans artichoke bottoms, drained and sliced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 4-quart casserole with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine flour, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper in a plastic zipper bag. Dredge the chicken in the mixture by shaking in the bag; several pieces in the bag at a time. Shake off excess flour. Save 3 Tbsp of the dredging flour to thicken the sauce later.
  3. Heat oil in large, heavy, skillet over medium heat until ripples appear in the fat. Brown chicken skin-side-up at first, 3 to four minutes per side. Drain on paper.
  4. Discard all but 2 Tbsp of the skillet drippings. Reduce heat to low. Add mushrooms and saute for 10 minutes until cooked soft and starting to dry.
  5. Sprinkle reserved dredging flour over mushrooms and stir well. Add broth and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 or 3 minutes. Add wine, stir, and simmer 2 more minutes.
  6. Arrange chicken, skin-side-up in the casserole. Tuck the drained and sliced artichoke bottoms in and around the chicken. Pour hot mushroom sauce over all. Cover casserole tightly with lid, or foil.
  7. Bake casserole on center shelf of oven for 40 minutes. Remove lid and bake 20 minutes more. Serve with rice and a salad.

 

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