This recipe highlights the importance of seasoning food at every stage in the process. Season your chicken before you flour it. Season the flour. Season the veggies. Taste for seasoning at the end. If you lightly season your food at each step along the way, the flavor grows seemingly exponentially by the time it's finished, and you're less likely to experience that "hmmm, it needs something" moment when you sit down to eat your beautiful creation.
Ingredients; Serves 4
- 1.5lbs chicken breasts, butterflied* then cut into ~2 inch strips
- 15-20 Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
- 2 bell peppers
- 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 can of artichoke hearts, quartered and well drained
- 10 jarred banana pepper rings, torn in half, plus 1Tb of the brine
- 1/3 c white wine
- 2/3 c chicken broth
- The zest of 1 lemon and the juice of half of a lemon
- 1 c flour
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
- Olive oil for pan frying
- salt, pepper, cayenne, crushed red pepper for seasoning
Mise en palce: Strain a can of artichokes through a colander then set it over a plate or towel so the artichokes can continue to drain. Roast bell peppers under your oven's broiler, rotating them every few minutes until completely blackened. Remove from oven and allow them to cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, remove the stems and seeds and peel the peppers, then thinly slice them. Place the slices in a bowl and discard the skin and stems. Zest 1 lemon into the same bowl and set it aside. Slice olives and garlic and place them in another small bowl along with dried thyme and set this bowl aside as well.
Prepare flour dredge. Place flour into a medium bowl and season it with 1tsp dried oregano, 2 big pinches of salt, several cracks of black pepepr, and a pinch of cayenne. Cut chicken into pieces. If using full sized chicken breasts, first butterfly them, then cut them into approximately 2inch strips. Generously season chicken with salt and pepper, and use your hands to toss the chicken to coat. Place chicken in a large mixing bowl and pour all of the flour over the chicken. Toss chicken and flour with your hands until chicken is well coated, then remove each piece of chicken back to the bowl where the flour used to be. Discard the excess flour. Wash your hands. See images below.
In a large cast iron skillet or sautepan set over a medium-high flame, add enough olive oil to just coat the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is shimmering, meaning you can see lines and shimmers in the oil indicating that it's hot, but not yet smoking, add half of the chicken in an even layer so the pieces are barely touching. Cook for 2 minutes per side, move chicken from the pan and onto a plate, and repeat with the second batch of chicken. It will not be fully cooked at this point, so don't sneak a bite!
Add 1Tb olive oil to the same skillet. The pan will be quite hot at this point after all that chicken frying, so be careful of spatter and gently add the artichokes and olive mixture and sauté for 3 minutes. Maintain a medium-high heat so these ingredients can brown a little. Add the bowl of roasted peppers and season everything with a pich of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and sauté for 2 more minutes.
Add the lemon juice, white wine, and chicken broth to deglaze* the pan, then nestle all of the chicken back into the pan. Reduce heat to low and allow everything to simmer for several minutes until a thickened sauce forms, gently tossing/stirring occasionally. Test chicken for doneness by simply cutting into the largest piece. If it's still pink, add 1/4c water to the pan and simmer for a couple more minutes until liquid thickens once again.
When chicken is cooked and sauce is thick, turn off the heat and toss in the torn banana peppers and their liquid. Top with parsley and serve.
*Deglaze: A cooking technique which requires adding liquid to a hot pan to remove stuck pieces of food, A.K.A flavor, from the bottom of the pan, in order to infuse the rest of the dish with this flavor.
*Butterfly: A way of cutting chicken in which a thick piece of chicken is cut through the center, parallel to the cutting surface, without cutting all the way through, but almost. It looks like butterfly wings when you unfold it.
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