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Rosemary Vanilla Chicken

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This recipe is adapted from Michael Smith.  I saw him prepare it on TV and knew I had to try it.  It is a favourite of mine now!


4 chicken breasts or 8 chicken thighs (he used thighs but my family is not big on dark meat so I used breasts) – Michael deboned the chicken himself because he wanted boneless meat but he also wanted to use the bones so that he could braise the meat.  I despise deboning meat (I thought the term was boning and the spell-checker on here does NOT like the term deboning BUT I googled it and it seems to be the accepted term out there.  Plus calling it boning would just bring out giggles and guffaws from people like my college age daughter and her friends!) so I have used a couple of strategies.  One is that I simply use boneless meat and I don’t worry about having the bones.  Yes it’s a bit better with the bones in the pan so the meat braises but it’s still delicious that way.  The other thing I have done is that whenever I make a roast chicken or boil a chicken, I save the bones and keep them in the freezer.  Then I can still buy boneless meat and simply pull some of those bones out of the freezer to use for this recipe.

vegetable or olive oil for browning the meat

1 large onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 bottle of white wine – Michael used chardonnay but I just use whatever I have on hand – you can also use less wine and make up the difference with chicken or vegetable broth

1 vanilla bean or 1 T. (15 ml) of good quality vanilla extract

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary – remove the needles from the stalk and discard the stalk (you could use some dried rosemary if that’s all you have on hand)

Instructions:  Begin by browning the chicken(and bones if you have them) in a skillet with the oil over medium high heat.  Brown on both sides until a lovely golden colour and then lower the heat.  Remove the meat from the pan and put aside.  Place the onions and carrots in the pan and cook them until they begin to soften.  You want the onions to begin to caramelize.  As you stir the vegetables, use your spoon to loosen the brown bits that are stuck to the bottom of the skillet.  Put the chicken and bones back in the pan and pour in the wine.  Scrape out the vanilla and add the pods to the pan along with the actual beans themselves that have been chopped up into small bits along with the rosemary.  Put the cover on the skillet and simmer this mixture for about 45 minutes.  Remove the lid and take out the bones.  Turn up the heat to medium high to thicken the sauce.  This is delicious served over pasta, rice, or other grainy side dishes like cous cous.

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