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Cheesy Spinach-Artichoke Chicken

Melissa Knific
Cook Time:
35 mins
Prep Time:
10 mins
Servings:
4-6
RATE THIS RECIPE
(99)

Chef notes

If there’s ever been a day you’ve dreamed about tucking away a skillet of spinach-artichoke dip, you’ve come to the right place. Here, the crave-worthy appetizer is turned into a one-pan dinner, thanks to boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

Vegetables are central to this dish (nearly two pounds!), but of course, spinach-artichoke chicken wouldn’t be true to its name without some richness. Three varieties of cheese — cream cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan — are whisked into the skillet, creating a silky sauce. Garlic powder is a smart way to save on prep time; it’s used two ways (the sauce and the croutons) for double the flavor.

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are favored here because they cook quickly, are super juicy and budget-friendly. However, chicken cutlets can be substituted if that’s your preference. Either way, season the chicken simply and cook it in the skillet, then build the sauce right in the same pan using the browned bits.

Spinach-artichoke dip needs some bread for scooping up the warm, cheesy goodness. In this recipe, a baguette, cut into cubes, serves that notion; they’re tossed in garlic butter and mounded on top of the skillet just before going into the oven. As it cooks, it turns golden brown, providing a welcome crunch to an otherwise creamy dish.

Swap Option: Cream cheese is a must to create the silky sauce, but feel free to play around with the other two cheeses. Use pecorino or Asiago in place of the Parmesan, and a melty cheese like Havarti, Gouda or white cheddar instead of mozzarella.

Ingredients

  • pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 6 thighs)
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen whole-leaf spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 (12- to 14-ounce) bag frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole or 2% milk
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • teaspoons garlic powder, divided
  • 1 large kaiser roll, or 2 ounces another hearty white bread, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 ½ cups)
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Preparation

1.

Adjust an oven rack to the top third position and heat to 475 F. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season generously on both sides with salt and pepper.

2.

Heat a large (12-inch) cast-iron or oven-safe, deep-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Once the butter has melted, add the chicken and cook until browned and nearly cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. (The chicken will finish cooking in the oven.) Transfer to a plate.

3.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add spinach and artichokes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.

4.

Stir in 1 tablespoon butter. Once melted, stir in flour and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in milk, stirring frequently, until the mixture comes to a simmer. Cook until thickened, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in cream cheese, mozzarella, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, until the cheeses have melted. Taste and season with more salt, if desired. Return the chicken thighs to the skillet, spacing them evenly apart into the spinach-artichoke mixture. Turn off the heat.

5.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, about 45 seconds. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt, then add the cubed bread and toss until well coated. Scatter bread cubes over the skillet. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan.

6.

Bake the chicken until browned and bubbling, 6 to 8 minutes. Rest for 5 minutes before serving.