Pure vanilla works wonders in a whole host of dishes, including savoury! This tasty recipe developed especially for LittlePod, suppliers of high quality vanilla products, by the talented Emma & Jacqui from Hills and Parkes Delicatessen.
2 chicken breasts
2 butternut or other firm squash, peeled, seeded and diced
80ml balsamic vinegar
2 chopped cloves of garlic
1 tsp LittlePod vanilla paste plus two Little Pod vanilla pods, seeded
½ an onion, finely diced
250g risotto rice
6 spears asparagus
A carrot, finely shredded
A celery stick, finely sliced
450ml chicken stock
6tbsp light olive oil
1 tbsp sugar
A pinch or two of nutmeg
30ml single cream
A knob of butter
Roast the squash in a little of the vanilla oil with some salt and pepper and the nutmeg, put half of it aside when browned and mash the rest to a puree, adding this to the water, the rest of the vanilla paste and the sugar, mixing well. Then turn the oven down to fifty.
Sautee the onion over a medium flame in some more of the vanilla oil for two or three minutes then add the risotto rice, stirring for a further couple of minutes. Add the stock a little at a time until it is all absorbed then add the squash mixture, stir, turn the heat right down and cover.
Toss the asparagus in the rest of the vanilla oil and grill for half a minute on two sides and keep warm in the low oven. Put the diced squash with it to be kept warm also. Brown the chicken breasts on all sides and cook in the oven for twelve to fifteen minutes and then leave to rest in the oven.
Check the risotto and add a little more water if too al dente, then add the cream and butter.
Serve the chicken sliced on the asparagus on the risotto with the chicken juices poured over, and diced squash scattered around the plate.