Star anise is a licorice-flavored spice. When used whole and steamed with chicken and tarragon, the meat is delicately perfumed and may actually convert those who don't think they like licorice. Steaming in en papillote is a surprisingly easy method of low-fat cooking that becomes a dramatic presentation when your guests open the fragrant packages at the dinner table.
1 carrot, peeled
1 butternut squash, small, peeled
1 celery stalk, 8-inches in length
1 leek whites, about 4-6 inches long
4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon fresh gingerroot, minced
4 star anise
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 tarragon sprigs
Preparation Instructions: 1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Using a vegetable peeler shave the carrot and butternut squash into long strips. Cut the celery and leek into thin slices. Soak the sliced leek in cold water to clean it. Season both sides of the chicken breasts
with the salt and pepper.
2 To prepare the parchment, cut heart shapes out of four 12 x 16 inch sheets that are folded in half.
3 Toss the vegetable shavings with the celery, leeks and ginger. Portion the vegetables onto one side of the parchment hearts. Place the chicken on
top of the vegetables. Divide the star anise, chili flakes, white wine, and tarragon sprigs over the chicken.
4 Seal the chicken in the parchment by closing the heart shape and crimping the edges shut. Place pouches on a sheet tray and bake 20 minutes until the parchment has inflated like a balloon. Place each parchment on individual plates and serve. Ask your guests to be careful of hot
steam when opening the parchment.