Drain artichokes in a colander over a bowl, reserving liquid. Coarsely chop artichoke bottoms. Combine artichokes, cheese, 2 tablespoons chives, 1 teaspoon thyme, and 1 teaspoon lemon rind in a medium bowl; stir well.
Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff about 1/4 cup artichoke mixture into each pocket. Sprinkle chicken with pepper.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 chicken breasts, and sauté 6 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from skillet. Set aside; keep warm. Repeat procedure with 1 teaspoon oil and remaining chicken breasts. Add reserved artichoke liquid, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind to skillet. Combine cornstarch and lemon juice; stir well. Add to skillet. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return chicken to skillet. Cover and simmer 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Spoon sauce over chicken. Top with 2 tablespoons chives.