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Easy Chicken Breasts

Easy Chicken Breasts

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Serves 6 to 10
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from a contributed recipe.

This dinner is an easy one-skillet wonder. No fancy ingredients and no complicated procedures. You will need a separate saucepan in which to cook the rice, but everything is done on top of the stove in a large skillet. No need for a hot oven on a warm summer day.

Ingredients:

3 cups jasmine rice (or whichever type of rice you prefer)
½ cup (118ml) olive oil (or other oil) for frying
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 10 ounces (280g) each
1 14-ounce (397g) can artichoke hearts; quartered, do not drain
10 ounces (280g) fresh tomatoes; chopped (canned is okay)
½ cup Italian salad dressing, preferably homemade (see My Recipe)
Optional: 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup pesto, preferably homemade (see My Recipe)

Directions:

Heat 6 cups of water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the rice, about 2 tablespoons of butter, and stir with a fork. Return to a boil, cover the pan, and reduce the heat to low. Cook covered for 16 minutes. When cooked, leave covered and set aside until needed. While the rice is cooking, prepare the chicken and sauce.

Heat the oil in a large skillet and carefully place the chicken breasts, a few at a time, in the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove to a plate and set aside. Let the oil cool and then discard. Do not clean the skillet, as any brown bits (the fond) in the bottom will add flavor to the sauce.

Place the artichoke hearts with the liquid in the skillet. Add the chopped tomatoes and the salad dressing. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until reduced to about one half the liquid volume. Place the browned chicken breasts on top of the sauce mixture, cover the pan, and simmer for 10 minutes. Check the internal temperature of the chicken breasts. They should come up to at least 160°F (71°C). Remove the skillet from the heat and allow to rest for about 10 minutes.

Remove the chicken breasts from the skillet and set aside. Add the pesto and, if desired, the Dijon mustard to the skillet and blend into the sauce.

Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and spread on a large serving platter, enough to cover. Spoon most of the sauce mixture over the rice and then top with the cooked chicken breasts. Spoon the remaining sauce over the chicken. Serve immediately with the remaining rice in a warm serving bowl.