Chicken Jerusalem

One day a chicken was walking in the woods when an acorn fell…. and the rest is history.

We had some family friends (that would be you Shannon!) who–back in the seventies and eighties–entertained and when they did, their go-to “company’s coming” dish was Chicken Jerusalem, fondly referred to in the family as “Chicken Yittel.” For some of us, there is nothing better than artichokes except, perhaps, for artichokes and mushrooms swimming in a cream sauce redolent with sherry and chives. Enter Chicken Jerusalem, a classic dish of chicken breasts with mushrooms and artichokes in a white wine cream sauce. While we always make it with artichokes, there are some versions that call for Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes) which are actually a tuber and not part of the thistle family like artichokes. The chicken is just a vehicle for this rich, unctious sauce. Although typically made with a white wine cream sauce, using sherry in this recipe gives it a rich, nutty, complex flavor–I use Dry Sack sherry which has an “off dry” slight sweetness and makes a perfect aperitif for the cook……. This is best served with a green vegetable and rice (our friends used chicken Rice-a-Roni–but then, it was the seventies after all). Chicken Jerusalem pairs well with a Loire white such as Vouvray provided it is a dry one–look for Sec-Sec or “dry dry” and their slightly less dry wines as Sec-tendres .

Chicken Jerusalem

Serves 8

8 chicken breasts
salt and pepper, to taste
3 Tbs flour
3 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
16 oz white mushrooms, sliced
1 garlic cloves, minced
½ cups sherry
2 cups chicken broth (more as needed)
14.5 oz can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
1 cup heavy cream
chives, chopped, to taste

Salt and pepper chicken breasts and dredge through flour.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces and brown for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet.

Add onion and sliced mushrooms to pan with the garlic, and stir around and cook for a couple of minutes. Add sherry and cook for a minute while it evaporates.

Pour in chicken broth—you should have enough for it to be very liquidy. Stir to deglaze the pan, then add chicken back to pan. Add artichoke hearts. Put the lid on the skillet and continue cooking over medium-low heat (or in a 375 degree oven) for 30 minutes, checking to make sure chicken broth doesn’t completely evaporate. (Add more as needed).

Remove lid and reduce heat to low. Remove chicken from pan. Pour in cream and shake/stir to distribute. Add chives, then add chicken back to pan. Put lid on pan again and cook for an additional 10 minutes to thicken sauce. Stir and check for seasonings; add salt and pepper to taste.

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