Summer in San Francisco has lasted all of three days so far, and for the most part, I think the good citizens of the City by the Bay have given up hope on any warm weather until next spring. Fall wardrobes are appearing, and discussions concerning new boots and coats are cropping up all over my workplace. And then, there’s that unmistakable crisp edge in the air that hints of autumn’s approach.
But I’m still holding out. It’s not hard to do when summer produce still abounds at the market. In fact, when I get home from work and can put together a simple meal featuring summer tomatoes and lots of fragrant, freshly torn basil, it’s easy to pretend that it’s 80 degrees outside.
This little recipe is wonderful for a weeknight, since chicken thighs cook quickly and pack so much flavor. A bit of garlic, some artichokes, and a helping of goat cheese, and it’s not so hard to believe that it’s summer somewhere.
Quick-braised chicken thighs with artichokes, cherry tomatoes and goat cheese
- 4 cloves of garlic, smashed and skins removed
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- –kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 small yellow onion, julienne
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 pint (basket) of cherry tomatoes, washed and stems removed
- 1 can artichoke hearts packed in water, drained, rinsed and cut into halves
- 1 – 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- –handful of basil leaves, roughly torn
- –1 oz goat cheese (about 2 tbsp worth)
In a large skillet, heat the garlic cloves and olive oil together over medium high heat until the oil is very fragrant. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper, then brown in the oil on each side; it should take a few minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
In the same pan (and without removing any of that delicious garlic oil or chicken drippings!), saute the yellow onion and the tomato paste. Stir together to melt the paste. When the onion is tender and the pan is developing fond on the bottom, add in the cherry tomatoes, the artichoke hearts, and the chicken stock. Gently stir this together with tongs, using one of the artichoke halves to scrape the bottom of the pan to remove the golden bits. Season the entire mixture with salt and pepper.
Lay the chicken back into the pan, reduce heat to medium/medium low, cover (I used aluminum foil) and allow to gently simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, then sprinkle half of the basil over the mixture. Cover again and let cook for another minute or two.
When you’re ready to serve, plate a piece of chicken along with the sauce, then garnish with more fresh basil and a dollop of goat cheese. Quick, easy, delicious.