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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Vanilla Balsamic Chicken over Pasta with Garlic Vanilla Cream Sauce

I am so excited to share this recipe with you.  When I was approached by Whitney at IndriVanilla, who asked if I would interested in some free vanilla bean samples, I couldn't pass it up.  I had all these ideas of all these yummy desserts I could make... then it hit me.  Why not try and create a savory dish with them?  I very rarely see savory dishes that call for vanilla beans, outside of certain curry dishes, that is.  So I set out to do just that.

My first test....vanilla balsamic chicken - grilled of course - but I wanted to go a bit further.  You know me and my love for sauces.... why not create a sauce to go over it.  Enter the garlic vanilla cream sauce... mmmmm!!!  Put it all over a bit of pasta and you have yourself a savory dish using vanilla beans!

How did it turn out?  Well, honestly.. the chicken was kick ass.  It had this perfect mixture of tanginess and sweetness, that worked together amazingly well.  The sauce.. the sauce was just a tad bit too sweet... but that can easily be fixed, so all in all, this dinner rocked!  Would I make it again... hell yes!!   Would I encourage you to try it?  Most definitely!!

And, just one more word on the vanilla beans.  I seriously thought that for the price of the vanilla beans that they would not be of the best quality.  I was 100% incorrect in that thinking.  So far I have used the "low grade" beans that Whitney sent me and I can say to you, I see no difference in the vanilla beans I have used before - even the expensive, most coveted, Madagascar beans.  So, don't wait any longer, hop on IndriVanilla and order your own beans right now.... seriously, they will package them in how every many beans you want.... but go now... you are going to LOVE not only the price, but the actual beans themselves!!

Vanilla Balsamic Chicken over Pasta with Garlic Vanilla Cream Sauce
Chicken recipe adapted from Cooking Light, Sauce recipe created by Jenn's Food Journey
Printable Recipe 
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons orange juice
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
pinch of salt
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
For the sauce -
1 Tablespoon vanilla balsamic sauce (which you will be making with above ingredients)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoon flour
2 large garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
10oz whole grain penne pasta (or whatever kind of pasta you want to use)

In a saucepan over medium heat, add 1/4 cup chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, orange juice, vanilla bean, and salt.  Stir to combine.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat.  Let simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Remove 1 Tablespoon of the sauce and set aside.  Place the chicken in a shallow dish and pour all but 1 Tablespoon (you'll use this to baste the grilled chicken with) of the sauce over the chicken, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees F and oil the grill grates.  Place the chicken directly over the fire and grill for 6-10 minutes per side, or until the chicken is cooked through.  Brush with reserved sauce.  Remove from grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Once cooled a bit, slice into bite size pieces.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions; drain.  Mix together 1 Tablespoon of reserved sauce, chicken broth, cream, and vanilla bean until well combined.  In a sauce pan over medium heat, add the butter and let melt.  Add the garlic and allow to cook for 1 minute.  Add the flour and stir to combine everything.  Slowly whisk in the cream mixture.  Allow to come to a slow simmer.  Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the sauce thickens just a bit.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place pasta on a plate or in a bowl, top with chicken and sauce.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

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Yenta Mary said...

Oh, that looks like the most amazing meal - like something you'd order at a romantic restaurant! How fabulous!!!

Becki's Whole Life said...

This sounds wonderful. I love the sweet/savory flavor combo in this dish. Your garlicky sauce sounds wonderful!

Paula said...

Jenn, does that company sell wholesale. I have a bulk foods store and deli and have to pay so much for my vanilla beans. Maybe I could check with them and see if I could get them cheaper. Spices are a big thing at my store. I have about 180 different ones. Thanks. Paula

Mary said...

This looks and sounds delicious! I seriously wish I could have tasted it. I added some vanilla bean to sweet potatoes the other day (no added sugars, nothing else sweet) and it kicked the flavor up about 10 notches. We were all speechless. I can't wait to see all your recipes this week!

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

I've chatted briefly with Whitney about her vanilla beans and I'm super excited to order some myself!! I love this recipe Jenn. I've always wanted to play with vanilla in savory applications. This sounds just about perfect!!!

IndriVanilla said...

Paula, we sell to a number of specialty grocers--our bulk prices are fantastic. Since I'm not sure I can get your contact information from your post, will you please e-mail me at indrivanilla[at]gmail[dot]com?

Angie's Recipes said...

wow free vanilla bean samples...that sounds terrific.
Vanilla balsamic...that's something new to me. Can't wait to try it.

Pam said...

Nice! I never think to use vanilla in savory dishes. This pasta looks lovely Jenn.

Jennifurla said...

Omgoodness, how inventive.

Michael Toa said...

Now, that's an interesting combination I'd love to try. I don't think I've used vanilla in savoury dishes before, but would definitely give it a go.

Jenn said...

Thanks Whitney for leaving your info! Paula, if you can't reach Whitney, email me at and I will get you in touch with her.

Dining Alone said...

I love savory and sweet flavors, this is a must try for me!

StephenC said...

Oh my, what reservations I have about vanilla. And yet I admire you and your followers so much I must open my mind. Oy, veh.

Candace said...

I love a sweet and savory combo! This looks fantastic, Jenn!

Cranberry Morning said...

I would definitely encourage you to make this FOR me, Jenn. :-) I can see sitting down in your kitchen to a great meal made just for

When I first saw the post title, I read, 'Garlic Vanilla Ice Cream.' I was relieved when I read on. :-))

Big Dude said...

This looks fantastic Jenn, I like the use of Balsamic and the beef roast below would be mighty fine on these col days.

Chris said...

I have some vanilla beans in the cupboard right now. How would you balance the sweet out if you made this again? Add a little cayenne or heat to it? This sounds good.