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Okay, folks, here it is!  My first recipe that I completely made up and actually had the foresight to jot down.  And may I say it is faaaaabulous.  Oh, my.  Is it Italian?  Is it Middle Eastern?

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This recipe is a melding of Italian and Middle Eastern.  The Middle Eastern elements show up primarily in the garam masala spice on the chicken (which you can get at most grocery stores) and the use of a tagine, both of which I feel contribute something special to the rich taste of this dish.  The great thing about a tagine is that it has a vent hole in the top of the cone-shaped lid that allows some circulation of air while the inside remains moist.  Of course, if you don’t have a tagine on hand, you can just use a large sauté pan with a tight-fitting lid.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts, each butterflied into 2 separate pieces (you can also use the same weight in chicken tenders, but be aware cooking time for tenders is less than breasts)

  • Spices:

    • Garam Masala

    • Dried oregano (I prefer Mexican oregano)

    • Dried basil leaves

    • Celery salt

    • Fresh-ground black pepper

    • Sea salt

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 jar of marinated artichoke hearts, with oil

  • 1 jar of marinated grilled peppers, with oil

  • ¼ cup marinated sun-dried tomatoes (about three fingerfuls)

  • ½ jar capers (rinsed well)

  • ¾ cup chicken stock

  • 1/3 cup white wine

Directions

  1. Uncover and heat your tagine (or sauté pan) with the Tbsp. of olive oil at medium-high heat.  Don’t use too much oil or the chicken won’t brown.

  2. Lay the 4 chicken breast halves flat on a plate or cutting board.  In turns, sprinkle the facing-up sides with a light dusting of all 6 spices.  This really comes down to just how strong you want your spices and you can increase or decrease any of the spices according to your tastes.  The first time just do an equal light dusting.

  3. Lay your chicken breasts, spiced side down, in the tagine.  Depending on how large your tagine is, you may have to do this two breasts at a time.  Let it brown on medium-high heat for about 2 minutes on each side.  When you turn the breasts over, spiced that side directly in the tagine.  Don’t move the chicken around too much.  You want the spices to stay on the chicken, not get knocked off.  Remove the chicken and set aside.  (The chicken will not be fully cooked.)

  4. In the tagine, combine the chicken stock and white wine and scrape up anything stuck to the bottom.  Add in the artichoke hearts, grilled peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and capers and stir to combine.  Leave this at medium-high heat for about 5 minutes to allow the liquids to reduce down a little.

  5. Lay the chicken back in the tagine, arranging them at the bottom under the sauce.  Cover the tagine with its lid (or the sauté pan with its fitted lid) and reduce the heat to medium heat.  Allow to cook for about 10 minutes.  (If using chicken tenders, check periodically and adjust your cooking time as needed.)

  6. The dish is ready when the liquids have reduced nearly by half and the chicken has no more pink.  The beauty of cooking in the sauce like this is it prevents the chicken from drying out for longer than cooking chicken in air.  The tagine allows the sauce and liquids to really infuse the chicken so it is not dry.

  7. Serve each breast with a large spoonful of the sauce and enjoy!