Sunday, December 28, 2008

Spinach & Artichoke Topped Chicken

One of my favorite vegetable combinations is spinach and artichoke. It could be in a dip, on a pizza, in a sandwich or better yet, stuffed in pork or chicken... I love how it tastes especially with some cheese mixed in.

This dish is one that involves a spinach and artichoke sauce that is served over a seasoned and baked chicken breast. I came across this recipe for the sauce and used it to top my baked & seasoned chicken... yum!

Spinach & Artichoke Topped Chicken
recipe inspired by Rachel Ray's Spinach-Artichoke Cheesy Tortellini
from Express Lane Meals

For Chicken:
4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt & pepper to taste or seasoning salt
garlic & onion powder to taste

For Sauce:
1/2 10-oz box frozen spinach
1 tablespoon EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil), twice around the pan
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small onion, peeled and halved
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (eyeball it)
1/2 14 ounce can artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
1-2 handfuls grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
Salt and black pepper

For Topping:
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs for topping
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare your chicken by seasoning it to taste with salt, pepper, seasoning salt, garlic and/or onion powder (however you'd like) Place chicken on baking sheet.

For the sauce, begin by microwaving the spinach on high for 6 minutes to defrost.

Heat a deep skillet over medium heat with the EVOO and butter. When the butter melts and is hot, add the garlic. Using a box grater, grate the onion directly into the skillet.

Saute the onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour into the skillet and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the stock, then the cream, and bring the sauce to a boil. Season the sauce with nutmeg and reduce the heat to low.

Place the defrosted spinach in a clean kitchen towel and wring it dry. Separate it as you add it to the sauce. Stir in the chopped artichokes and a couple handfuls of cheese, then season the spinach-artichoke sauce with salt and pepper. Topped the raw chicken breast with spinach artichoke sauce.

Combine the panko breadcrumbs and cheese for the topping and sprinkle on top of the spinach artichoke sauce.

Bake chicken in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until juices run clear and chicken is thoroughly cooked.