A few weeks ago I was driving around delivering meals to the old people, and sort of listening to a program on our local NPR station. It was a pretty interesting program, but I was getting in and out of the car every couple of minutes, so I missed a lot of it. Anyway, the host was interviewing a panel of guests, and the topic was eating for a longer life. If you’re so inclined, you can listen here. There was talk about when to eat, the recommendation being to allow at least 12 hours, 16 if you can manage it, between your last meal of the day and your first meal of the next day. Your liver has to ‘wake up’ and do its processing work after each meal, and your body does better when it has down time, when it’s not busy digesting food. So no more snacking after dinner. There was talk about how to eat, meaning sit down, have a leisurely meal, hopefully with family and friends whenever possible. This also helps in digestion, and you’re less likely mindlessly eat, as can happen when you’re in front of the TV or the computer. And then, of course, there was talk about what to eat. There’s a school of thought, articulated by Michael Pollen, which says that we shouldn’t eat anything our grandmother wouldn’t recognize. I think we’re going to have to go back a bit further, because my Grandma probably eats, and ate back in the 50s, things that came out of boxes, etc. So this guest, Rebecca Katz, recommends eating real food, not derived food. So eat almonds, certainly, but she wasn’t a big fan of almond milk. She is a fan of cow or goat milk, but said that whole is likely better for you than lower fat options, because when the cream is skimmed from the milk, the natural sugars of the milk increase, and most of us get too much sugar in our diet, even if we don’t eat dessert. Also, full fat milk is more satisfying, which tends to mean less consumed. She also talked about some foods that are especially good for us, and included things I wouldn’t have thought to, like basil and mint. Who knew? It was all very interesting, and I came home and listened to it on my computer, since you can do those things these days. After listening, I went on Amazon and bought myself her cookbook, The Longevity Kitchen, which promises delicious, “age-busting” meals. It arrived a few days later, and I looked at it, but ended up putting it away rather than making anything right away.
Fast forward to yesterday, when Ted told me that he saw a recipe on Epicurious that looked good to him. I said if he’d email it to me, I’d get the ingredients. So he did…and guess what? It was a recipe from the cookbook that I had just bought. Probably not a shock to you by this point, but it was pretty coincidental, no? So, I made the recipe, and Ted took a picture with his new phone, and here we are.
Braised Chicken with Artichokes and Olives
- 8 organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds), trimmed of excess fat*
- Sea salt**
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- Generous pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 cinnamon stick, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups organic chicken broth, homemade or ?store-bought***
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and mixed with a spritz of lemon juice and a pinch of salt****
- 8 thawed frozen or jarred artichoke hearts, quartered*****
- 1/2 cup pitted green olives, such as picholine or manzanilla
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or cilantro
Pat the chicken dry and season salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, working in batches if necessary, and cook until well browned on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.Decrease the heat to medium. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until soft and slightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in 1/4 cup of the broth to deglaze the pot, stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the pot. Stir in a pinch of salt and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the remaining 1 3/4 cups of broth, the lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the chicken, chickpeas, artichoke hearts, and olives and stir gently to combine. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice. Taste; you may want to add another squeeze of lemon juice or pinch of salt. Garnish with the mint.
The result was a mighty tasty meal! And now, we’re going to live forever with very healthy organs, right? Oh, perhaps we’ll make a few more recipes from the cookbook, what do you think?
* I bought 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. I don’t go for the skinless boneless chicken very often, because they lack flavor and dry out. I should have bought 8, because then we would have more leftovers.
** No sea salt in the house, so I used kosher.
*** Store bought, not organic, but I did go salt free.
**** 1 cup of chickpeas? I didn’t see that until I had already put the whole can in. Another reason why it’s too bad I didn’t buy more chicken. Though the veggies might be nice on their own, actually.
*****8 artichoke hearts? Maybe if I were using fresh (as if, they’re generally $2 each for artichokes, and I’m not paying $16 for the veggie component in my chicken dish). I used a box of frozen. They were halved and quartered, so who knows…maybe there were only 8. No idea.