Peanut Butter and Purple Onions

Sounds crazy until you try it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I Know They Look Charred...

...but those little black bits are actually minced shallots from the marinade. Honest!

Now, if I were fortunate enough to be a magazine editor, and it was my task to name this recipe, I'd have called it Orange Balsamic Chicken, because the citrus flavor is much more prominent than the vanilla. (Maybe I'd have tried for a more interesting name, come to think of it.) The vanilla comes in as an afternote with each bite, present but in no way dominant. I was a little worried that the marinade would turn out too syrupy, with so many sweet ingredients, but the volume of vinegar helped with that, I think.

I made this recipe with eight chicken pieces, not sixteen, and Dimples ate six of them without batting an eye. I think that means this counts as a winner.

Vanilla Balsamic Chicken
Adapted from Cooking Light

Serves 8.

0.5 c. chicken broth
0.5 c. balsamic vinegar (I used my bottle from the Ferry Building)
0.25 c. finely chopped shalllots
0.25 c. packed brown sugar
0.25 tsp. grated orange rind
0.25 c. fresh orange juice (from about half an orange)
1 2-inch piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise
0.5 tsp. salt, divided
16 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (preferably natural or organic)

Heat the oven to 450.

Combine broth, vinegar, shallots, sugar, rind, and juice in a small saucepan. (Go for shallow over deep, as you will be reducing.) Using the tip of a knife, scrap the tiny black seeds from the vanilla vean into the broth mixture. Save the bean.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and reduce to 0.5 c. Stir in 0.25 tsp. salt.

Arrange the chicken in a single layer in a baking dish. Sprinkle with the rest of the salt and freshly ground pepper.

Bake for ten minutes. Then brush half the broth mixture over the chicken and bake five minutes. Add the remaining mixture and bake for another 15 minutes.

* I forgot to add the salt to the marinade and didn't notice a difference at all.
* Next time I will use my white balsamic vinegar -- I bet it will bring an interesting, lighter flavor.
* And of course you should take the vanilla bean and toss it into a jar with some plain white sugar. Instant vanilla sugar!


  • At 11:59 PM, Blogger Michele said…

    This sounds really good! I was just looking for some recipes for Balsamic chicken and this looks so interesting, I will have to give it a try!

  • At 9:11 AM, Blogger BNA said…

    It's quite unusual, Michele, but really tasty! Let me know how you like it.

  • At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Lynn D. said…

    This sounds delicious. I love chicken thighs, but always try to use skinless with the bone in. Cooking takes a little longer, but the bone gives tons of flavor.

  • At 4:28 PM, Blogger Gadget said…

    This sounds just divine. And SIX pieces?! I realize thighs are small, and Dimples is a a skinny boy who can afford to eat so much, but wow. I'd say that definitely qualifies this as a winning recipe!

  • At 8:40 AM, Blogger Alanna said…

    Vanilla?! I love the idea! Would you pull out the vanilla to make it more prominent? Or does it belong in the background?

  • At 11:22 AM, Blogger BNA said…

    Hi Lynn! I too like bone-in chicken thighs for the added flavor and juiciness. Good idea.

    Ah, Gadget, you know Dimples well. All I can say is that thank goodness he has the world's fastest metabolism.

    Hi Alanna! I think the vanilla belongs in the background. Any more prominent and the chicken might start to taste candied.

  • At 7:02 PM, Anonymous Rorie said…

    Sounds absolutely fabulous! I must try this ....


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