Braised Chicken with Artichokes and Olives

I didn’t think it was possible to love artichokes more than I already did until I lived in Italy. There they harvest artichokes in both spring and fall, and that abundance graces their cuisine. Artichokes also enhance their health, as they stimulate the gallbladder to produce bile, which escorts toxins out of the body and also helps break down fats in the diet. Here, artichoke hearts are combined with chicken, chickpeas, and olives to create a rich, nourishing stew seasoned with a potpourri of heady and healthful spices, including turmeric, cumin, coriander, and mint.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

8 organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 11/2 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 (page 56) 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 (see note), quartered
1/2 cup pitted green olives, such as picholine or manzanilla
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 13/4 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 occasion- ally, 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.

Cook’s Note: The artichokes hearts can be fresh, frozen and thawed, or packed in water in a jar. Whichever type you use, rinse them well. If using fresh artichoke hearts, add them right after adding the garlic.

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Storage Time: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Per Serving: Calories: 395; Total Fat: 21.5 g (5 g saturated, 12 g mono- unsaturated); Carbohydrates: 16 g; Protein: 33.5 g; Fiber: 3.5 g; Sodium: 498 mg

Who Knew? Digestion begins long before you put food in your mouth. According to nutrition expert Kathie Madonna Swift, MS, RD, LDN, our other senses, notably smell and sight, can jump-start the production of saliva and enzymes that promote better digestion. This so-called cephalic digestion—cephalic being Greek for “in the head”—explains why the appearance and aroma of food goes beyond mere aesthetics. According to Swift, attractive presentation, pleasing odors, and a relaxed mood improve digestion. So do yourself a favor and set the table with attractive dinnerware and light a candle or two.

Reprinted with permission from The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying, Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods. Copyright © 2013 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.