Annie and I have been friends since we were both 13 years old. I met her when my family was stationed at Norfolk Naval Air Station in Virginia - she was one of a whole gaggle of teens who all hung out together filling out slam books and trying to figure out the whole confusing dating thing. Inevitably, orders to a new duty station separated us and we lost touch for a while. We met again about 10 years later, both stationed in Hawaii, and picked up our friendship as if there had never been a gap. She stayed with our family for a while when her young husband was out at sea during her pregnancy, Chief Banks bringing her a big glass of milk with every meal and the rest of us trying in our own ways to spoil her rotten.
Annie has taught me lots of things through the years, including how to shave my legs when we were 13, and she's still teaching me stuff. A couple of months ago, she emailed me this recipe that she found in Sunset magazine, and I finally got around to trying it.
As she said, this one's a keeper. The tangy, lemony sauce really points up the richness of the chicken thighs. My Beloved wolfed down his portion and I was a close second.
I did make a few changes. Because I didn't have frozen artichoke hearts, I added a small jar of the marinated ones (minus the marinade) and they were perfect in the recipe; I didn't have capers, so I figured the marinade in the artichokes would take that place. I added a big pinch of Herbes de Provence to my pot, not because I didn't have faith in Annie's taste but just because I think most things are improved by a big pinch of Herbes de Provence; it's the bacon of the herb world, in my view. I used picholine olives (with pits - beware!) and they were perfect in the dish.
Either way, this makes an unusual dinner and a lovely one. Because it's a stew, if you live in a hot climate you might want to revisit this in the fall, but here in Point Richmond where it's rarely really warm, it works in the summer, too.
The best friends are the lifelong friends - especially when they are also killer cooks!