Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Red Carpet Starry Eyed Chicken

I want to start off by saying I am NOT a fan of black licorice, which is one of the reason's I've always been so put off to cook anything Anise related.  The smell of it almost makes me want to gag.  There's this whole thing called growing up, trying new things and figuring out that just because some things seemed so nasty as a kid maybe they aren't that bad as an adult, not that I'll EVER try Brussel Sprouts again, thanks a lot Aunt Kim for that disgusting experience!!

Is that not the coolest looking spice ever!!

Anyways, back to the matter at hand, I've been wanting to try different things lately and I saw some Star Anise awhile back and thought it looked really cool, yes, I bought some funky looking spice because it looked cool.  Once I got home, I realised I had not a clue what to make with it and I had better figure it out so I didn't have it sit in my cupboard for the next 20 years as the funky looking spice I bought but never used. 

I found this recipe for Chicken in Star Anise Tomato Sauce and thought it looked like something I might like.  Of course, me being me, I had to change things up, find some other recipes, see what other people were doing and this Grandma Louise's Tomato Sauce recipe kept popping up.  It actually has real vanilla bean in it, vanilla bean, in a tomato sauce, are you kidding me.  It seems to be quite popular and is one I have in the back of my mind for when I grow up a little more because I'm just not ready to add vanilla bean to my tomato sauces quite yet.

After some careful thought and consideration I've come up with something that I think just might do the trick.  I've decided I want to call it Red Carpet (because of the tomato sauce) Starry Eyed (because of the Star Anise) Chicken and since when I first saw Star Anise and thought it looked pretty funky, I wanted a funky name for what I'm cooking up tonight...lol.

Red Carpet Starry Eyed Chicken

4 Chicken Breasts
1 28 oz can Diced Tomatoes, with juice
1 Onion, chopped
2 Celery Stalks, finely chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 c. Chicken Broth
2 Tbsp Sun Dried Tomatoes, minced
1 Whole Star Anise
1 Bay Leaf
1 Tbsp Epicure Roasted Red Pepper Dip Mix
1/2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 Tsp Dried Oregano
1/2 Tsp Dried Basil
1/2 Tsp Dried Thyme
1/2 Tsp Sugar
1/4 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
4-5 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Epicure Red Garlic Sansel

Start off by heating about 2 tablespoons of the EVOO over medium high heat in a dutch oven.  Once the oil is shimmering it's ready to go, add the onion and celery and cook that for about 3-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and sun dried tomatoes and cook an additional 30 seconds or so. 

Add the remaining ingredients except the chicken and additional EVOO, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 25-30 minutes.  Season is with some salt and pepper to taste. 

While the sauce is simmering, preheat the oven to 350F.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and season them well with salt and pepper.

In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the EVOO over medium high heat.  Add the chicken breasts and brown them on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. 


When everything is ready to hit the oven, add the chicken breasts to the sauce and nestle them down in there snug as a bug in a rug, you want the sauce to almost cover them. 

Put the lid on and toss them in the oven for 30-35 minutes, you want an internal temperature of about 165F.  Don't forget to remove the Bay Leaf and the Star Anise before serving. 

This could probably go with just about anything, I decided to serve it up over a bed of linguine, spooning some of the sauce over the linguine first and then giving the chicken a nice sprinkle of Epicure Red Garlic Sansel:)

Using the Dutch Oven helped keep the chicken really moist and tender and the flavour is out of this world...maybe I do need to grow up a bit and add some vanilla bean:)

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