In search of a shortcut that could put our chicken fricassee with artichokes and leeks recipe on the table in 30 minutes, we gave the chicken a head start by precooking it in the microwave. After trying a variety of powers and cooking times, we found the power and time combination that gave us what we were looking for: halfway cooked chicken that cooked through in the braising liquid in about 10 minutes. For the chicken itself we packed it with flavor and had a very moist texture, for our chicken fricassee recipe. Thaw your chicken ahead of time! Using the microwave to thaw and precook chicken makes it tough!

If you use rabbit, be sure to allow a bit more time for the cooking as rabbit cooks slower than chicken.


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 slice bacon, minced1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (9-ounce) box frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (see note)
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts, halved and sliced thin
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon

This flavorful fricassee relies on fuss-free frozen artichoke hearts, which only require a quick thaw in the microwave. The dish of chicken will be very hot coming out of the microwave—be sure to set it on a clean, dry surface or trivet, and be careful of hot steam when removing the plastic wrap. Shake any excess water off the leek before adding it to the pan to ensure that the sauce thickens properly. Serve this fricassee over rice or egg noodles.

MAKING THE MINUTES COUNT: Immediately start the chicken in the microwave. Slice the leek and let soak in water to wash while cooking the bacon and artichokes.

  1. MICROWAVE CHICKEN: Season chicken with salt and pepper and arrange in single layer in microwave-safe casserole dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on 50 percent power for 15 ­minutes.
  2. SAUTÉ BACON, AROMATICS, AND VEGETABLES: While chicken cooks, sauté bacon with oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until bacon fat begins to render, about 2 minutes. Stir in artichokes and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in leek and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. BUILD SAUCE: Stir in flour and cook until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in broth and bring to simmer.
  4. SIMMER CHICKEN: Reduce heat to low and add microwaved chicken with any accumulated juices. Cover and continue to cook until chicken is tender, about 10 minutes.
  5. FINISH STEW: Stir in cream and tarragon and return to brief simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.


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