I keep telling myself I shouldn’t complain.

This week, we’ve really seen the temperatures head south and I’ve actually had to start wearing something closer to a coat than a light jacket.  Now, I realize there are people in the NY / CT area who were under snow and ice for days around Halloween and they probably aren’t feeling too sorry for me.  However, I can’t help but say the same thing I always say this time of year … I’M.  NOT.  READY!!!  I’m not ready to need an extra five minutes to bundle up just to go outside.  I’m not ready to stand on the train platform with the arctic wind whistling down the tracks.  And I’m definitely not ready to scrape ice off the car in the morning.

What does this have to do with today’s dish?  Nothing, really, I just needed a good whine.

This is an all-weather chicken recipe – something as quick and easy in the winter as it is in the summer.  The nice thing is that it’s incredibly versatile – as good on a salad as it was last night added to a stirfry with bok choy and rice noodles.  Heck, serve it hot on some toasted ciabatta with a hot Asian mustard or a sweet chilli dipping sauce.  NOM!

Oriental Chicken Breasts

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tsp sichuan peppercorns, crushed
  • 1-2 red chillies, seeded and minced
  • 1 star anise
  • 5 Tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp honey

Mix the oil, rice wine vinegar, soy, honey, sichuan peppercorns, star anise and chillies until thoroughly mixed, then pour over chicken breasts and marinate at least 30 minutes up to an hour.  After its spice bath, I like to pop it in a 350 F oven to cook for 35 minutes (with a couple of tablespoons of the marinade drizzled over the top).  You could also cook them on a grill* – you just have to be careful not to put it on too hot of a grill or the honey will cause it to burn to a crisp before it’s cooked on the inside.  If you want to use this marinade for a stirfry, cut the chicken into pinkie-width strips and don’t marinade for more than 20 minutes.

*If you’re going to use this recipe on the grill – set aside about 1/3 of the marinade (in other words, have some that hasn’t been contaminated with raw chicken) and use it to brush on the chicken as it cooks.