Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rosemary and Vanilla Chicken

This recipe actually came from Chef Michael Smith, a 1991 honors graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in New York, has been cooking professionally for over 15 years.

This has to be one of my favorite dishes I have gotten from a TV Show! I know You will enjoy it!

8 chicken thighs (you can use breasts if you want)
4 tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil
2 onions, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
1 bottle of chardonnay
1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
2 large sprigs of rosemary, needles peeled off

Remove the bones from the chicken thighs by slitting the back of the thigh with a sharp knife. Carefully trim the meat off of each bone. Try to leave the thigh in one piece, but it's okay if it ends up in several pieces. I perfer to use the boneless thighs just because it is easier and faster.

Preheat a large frying pan over medium-high heat then splash in the olive oil. Add the chicken and the bones and begin browning. As each piece browns, turn it over. Continue until each piece is golden brown then lower the temperature. This is the best time to add the rich flavors of caramelization before the liquids are added and before the meat begins braising. Take the meat and bones out and reserve while the vegetables are cooked.

Add the onions and carrots to the hot pan and cook them for a few minutes until they slightly soften. This will brighten their flavors considerably. As you stir them, loosen any brown bits that adhere to the pan's bottom. These are caramelized juices from the meat and will add a lot of flavor to the dish.

Add the chicken meat and bones back to the pan. Pour in the wine. You may also use less wine and make up the difference with homemade or canned chicken broth. For this dish, I prefer the oak, vanilla-like flavors of California chardonnay.

Slit the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the seed paste inside. Mince the remaining pod and add along with the paste and rosemary to the chicken. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Place a tight-fitting lid on the pan and let braise on the stovetop over medium heat until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove the lid and fish out the bones, they've added their flavor and can now be discarded. Turn the heat up and reduce the liquid until it thickens into a sauce.

Taste; then season with salt and pepper.
Serve over any rice, pasta or grain.
Yield: 4 Servings