Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Chicken and Artichoke Hearts

Tom and I always go out for Valentine's Day. However, if we were to stay home for a little candlelight dinner, this is what I'd make ... to me it is one of the most luxurious dishes around.

My mother would make it occasionally for our family but I remember it generally being made for company.

I also remember that she made it right when I had been diagnosed when pneumonia in the 6th grade. That set my taste buds for chicken and after that, all I wanted to eat was boiled chicken during the whole dreary two weeks spent lying flat on my back (except for lying in the car to go to the doctor for the occasional penicillin shot with what felt like an exceptionally large needle). Wait, it's coming back to me. I would also sit up so my mother could bring in my brother and sister and tell them to put their ears to my back while I breathed in and out. "It's just like a teakettle burbling!" We knew how to have a good time in my family.

At any rate, my poor mother was left to a fate of boiling chicken after chicken during that time. I love her for doing it and I love this dish.

So what better than to make it for someone you love?

Step 1:
4-1/2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup heavy cream

Make white sauce.

Step 2:
1 can artichoke bottoms, drained
1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cooked,
cooled, in bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound mushrooms, sliced

Arrange artichokes on bottom of buttered baking dish, scatter chicken over them. Cook mushrooms in remaining butter, place over chicken.

Step 3:
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1/4 cup Parmesan
Salt, pepper, paprika to taste

Add sherry and Worcestershire to white sauce. Pour over chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and paprika, bake at 375° for 45 minutes.

This is best if it sits for a few hours prior to cooking. Serve with rice, noodles, or crisp toast.

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