I’m willing to bet that in your refrigerator right now there are at least a few random jars of antipasto-type vegetables needing to get eaten. Searching mine recently, I found several artichoke hearts bobbing around in one jar, roughly a quarter cup of pimento-stuffed olives floating in another and a lonesome roasted red pepper in yet a third.
If there was ever a time to take a fresh look at what’s on hand, it’s now, so rather than shut the refrigerator door as usual on these random leftovers, I pulled them together to make this enticing skillet meal.
The whimsical and very practical thing about it is that it doesn’t matter exactly what you have in those jars — any combination of vegetables will do, from the artichokes, olives and roasted peppers I mentioned to sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, capers and hot cherry peppers. (Use the salty and spicy elements in smaller amounts so they don’t take over.)
Just give the vegetables a coarse chop and you are well on your way a quick, one-pan chicken dinner with a supremely tasty sauce.
Dredging chicken breasts lightly in flour and browning them in the skillet, leaves dark golden bits in the pan, which, after adding garlic, is dissolved with white wine (you could substitute chicken broth) to form the base of the sauce. Once the wine is reduced, the chopped vegetables are tossed in, along with some water, and simmered until warm.
A tablespoon of butter rounds out the flavor of the sauce and adds a lovely, light richness, but you could leave it out or add another tablespoon of oil, if you prefer. The chicken goes back into the pan to finish cooking, and as it simmers its browned flour coating dissolves a bit, adding a touch more body to the sauce.
The final step is to adjust the seasonings, adding lemon juice and or salt as needed, depending on the acidity and salt levels of the vegetables involved. I like to pile it all over a bed of arugula, letting the warm sauce relax the leaves, barely wilting them. You could substitute another green, such as baby kale or spinach, or serve the dish over rice or orzo.
The result is a boldly tasty meal that takes less than 30 minutes and clears out the collection of half-empties in the refrigerator. If I have lost my bet and you don’t have any already opened jars on hand, I’d argue it’s worth buying a couple of new ones just to make this.