Truth be told, the classic combination of spinach and artichokes is often simply an excuse to consume a creamy cheese dip. And while spinach and artichoke dip is festive holiday fare and a tailgate essential we love, in the spring I use my favorite dip as inspiration for something a little lighter.
Leave the cheese and cream behind and see how the slow cooker can turn poached chicken breasts in a luxurious lemon broth with wisps of green spinach and forkfuls of tender, nutty artichokes into a spring supper you'll make on repeat.
Slow Cooker Spinach & Artichoke Chicken: Watch the Video
This Poaching Tool Might Surprise You
We often think of slow cooking as its own distinct and separate cooking method, but when used the right way the slow cooker takes the place of your regular pots and pans for a classic stovetop cooking method: poaching.
Poaching is the gentle and steady cooking in a liquid at a lower temperature, and it is ideal for infusing chicken breasts with flavor. On the stovetop, this technique is labor-intensive, always requiring attention so the slow simmer doesn't slip into a rapid boil.
A slow cooker gradually heats the liquid and chicken, hovering around the simmer point while the lemons, artichokes, and tender white meat chicken mingle and infuse the broth with savory, vegetal flavors. While the slow cooker's low setting keeps it consistently below the boiling point, the temperature can get close after being on all day. Instead, pull it from the cooker after about three hours, thankful you've spent the afternoon attending to other things and not babysitting the stove.
This simple, hands-off supper is perfect patio fare on those crisp spring evenings, feeling fancy and fresh without leaning on heavy cream or cheese. Layer slices of chicken over chewy pearl couscous and arrange the wilted spinach and succulent artichokes around before ladling on that light lemony broth. This is the time to break out your best olive oil — extra-virgin, if you have it — to drizzle over top, finishing an elegant plate for date night in.
Slow Cooker Spinach and Artichoke Chicken
Serves 4 to 6
boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 medium)
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups
frozen or canned artichoke hearts, thawed or drained if needed
medium shallot, halved and thinly sliced
medium lemon, cut into 8 wedges
low-sodium chicken broth
dry white wine, such as pinot grigio
baby spinach (about 3 packed cups)
For serving: chopped fresh parsley leaves, cooked pearl couscous, extra-virgin olive oil
Season the chicken breasts all over with the salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a single layer in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Slice the artichoke hearts in half lengthwise and add to the slow cooker. Scatter the garlic, shallot, and lemon wedges over the chicken and artichokes. Pour in the broth and wine.
Cover and cook on the LOW setting until the chicken is cooked through and registers 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours.
Transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Add the spinach to the slow cooker and toss with the artichokes and lemon. Transfer the vegetables to the serving dish. Serve over cooked pearl couscous and garnish with parsley, if desired.
Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.