Wish Upon A Dish: Chicken Zaragoza

March 19, 2013

Chicken Zaragoza

This recipe had to be named after something someone ate in Zaragoza, Spain.

I really did not know that, I had no idea where it was from. I put it on the menu because I liked the name and it was perfect for my meal plan.

I am assuming that somewhere, someone had eaten a braise or soup with cardoon's while in Spain and wanting to know what they were, asked the waiter or host what a cardoon was and they were informed they were the stems of an artichoke (as well as they can describe something so an American would understand). Like most traveling foodies, many home cooks tried to make that same dish back home only to be disappointed they could not find the same ingredients. So, without cardoons but having access to artichokes they just substituted and used artichoke hearts and for whatever reason, called it Chicken Zaragoza.

Don't hold me to it, but that's what I'm going with. Does it really matter? No but it explains the name.

What matters is that it's good, it's easy, it's inexpensive and it's ready in under 30 minutes. Win Win.
Since artichoke hearts were the main component, The Nudge is not a fan so I just substituted another great spring vegetable, asparagus. After some research, braised celery would have been another good substitution.
Celery is braised all throughout the Mediterranean. I also added sliced radishes which also sweeten when cooked.

While the dinner was nice and filling, I am not sure I would put this on the menu again as written. There are too many really exciting dishes that are in line way before this one, but with a little tweaking on the flavor components, it could make a major jump forward. I think some investigating into the cuisine of the Zaragoza region of Spain will shed some light and maybe the next time I run this recipe through the ringer, it will actually be a dish from Zaragoza.

Chicken Zaragoza
makes 4 servings
* 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
* 1 pound chicken breast halved
* 1/2 cup frozen peas
* 4 stalks asparagus, cut into 2" pieces
* 1/4 cup diced red peppers or jarred diced pimientos
* 3 slices bacon, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 cup canned low sodium chicken broth
* 2 tablespoons dry sherry
* 1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves
* Dash black pepper

1. In a 12-inch skillet heat oil; add chicken and cook over medium-high heat, turning when necessary, until browned, 4-5 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate and set aside.
2. Cook bacon until fat is rendered and meat is browned. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon to plate with chicken. In the same pan add the garlic, peas, red pepper and asparagus. Add the sherry and thyme.
3. Saute for 1 minute, then sprinkle with flour and stir quickly to combine. Gradually add broth and stir till there is no raw flour or lumps. Return chicken and bacon to pan and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the mixture thickens and chicken is cooked through, 15-20 minutes.

I served a bulgar pilaf on the side.

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