Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Santa Maria Chicken

Santa Maria Chicken

I love it when the fall season comes along. A time when you make slow comfort food.
A time to give thanks, relax and enjoy the good things of life.
Like the saint herself, this meal is a blessing.
The distinct flavors of tomato, basil, artichokes,mushrooms and wine.
Each unto itself, like life, takes time to grow rich, full, robust, and the
feeling of warmth.
The sweetness of basil, the earthiness of the mushrooms, bitters of artichokes, the tart of tomatoes, and the fruit of wine.
So if you feel a little chill in the air, and want to share a hearty dinner with someone,
cuddle up and make this dish:

Santa Maria Chicken

3 garlic cloves (minced)
2 tbsp. of olive oil
1/2 lb. of sliced white button mushrooms
2  large cans of whole tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
1 tsp. of italian seasoning
1/3 cup of white wine
2 jars of marinated artichokes
3 chicken breasts
2 tbsp. of diced fresh basil
2 tsps. of cornstarch
2tsps. of water
2 cups of flour
salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, pour flour in along with a dash of salt and pepper.
Cut chicken into 1 inch squares. Lighlty flour chicken and set aside.
In a large pan or large skillet, pour oil in with garlic. Lightly saute the garlic over medium heat.
Place chicken in the pan and until they are slighty coated with the oil and garlic.
Add jars of artichokes and reserve half the juice.
Crush the whole tomatoes from the can or use diced (ready cut tomatoes)
reaserving half the tomato juice.
Add white wine and continue to cook.
Add Italian seasoning. (Italian seasoning is a mix of oregano, thyme, and parsley.)
If you can find fresh herbs, simply dice and add to the pan.
Add the basil. You could cheat here, if you can find tomatoes with basil in the can.
Add sliced mushrooms.
Reduce heat to simmer (low) and slow cook for 30 to 45 minutes.
If the sauce is too thin, add a slurry. A slurry is a mix of cornstarch and water.
Added to any sauce, a slurry will thicken the sauce.
If the sauce is to thick, you can add more of the artichoke juice and tomato juice.
The sauce with the chicken, tomatoes, artichokes, mushrooms, and herbs is absolutely
wonderful over spinach pasta or spaghetti.

So the time has come, when the leaves turn color of amber and orange,
a brisk chill in the air, and the smell of a saint's dinner cooking in the oven to
warm our hearts and souls.

Happy Anniversary to my wife,
my sidekick in the kitchen,
and the Santa Maria of my life...

Love is a warm meal and a smile from one
that loves your cooking.


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