This chicken dish has become one of my favorites. There are several reasons for that. One of them is Greg’s reaction the first time I made it. He came into the house when I was almost done cooking, and excitedly exclaimed “It smells like a restaurant in here!” It was a compliment. And it was true. The shallots and fresh rosemary used in the blackberry sauce were really fragrant and made the food smell very appetizing. As this was early into my journey of cooking from scratch instead of making, uh, heating up, processed food, these wonderful smells were pretty uncommon in our kitchen.
I think a second reason I like this chicken with blackberry sauce so much is that this dish is what first introduced me to using fresh herbs. The recipe, which is from the August/September 2011 issue of Clean Eating magazine, calls for fresh rosemary. So off to the store I went, in search of fresh rosemary. It was easy to find, and I discovered that I like rosemary. The only problem was that the amount of rosemary in the package was far more than needed in the recipe. Not liking to waste food, I had to find other uses for it. My first success was combining it with garlic to make roasted potatoes. It didn’t take too long to figure out how to use this wonderful fresh rosemary, and then to move on to using other fresh herbs, like sage, dill and thyme.
Fresh herbs bring such vibrant flavour to my food that they have become a necessity in my kitchen. So much so that at this time last year I decided I would have to create a herb garden. Once I thought about it, I decided that if I was going to get Greg to dig up a garden for me, I might as well make it big enough to plant some vegetables too. Last year’s garden was a success. I had fresh herbs from the garden from late May until late November. It’s now late March, and I keep looking out the back window, feeling despair as I see my garden, still buried under several feet of snow. It feels like winter may never end this year. I want spring to arrive, so that I can plant again, and have the ability to go pick the herbs I need to prepare tonight’s dinner.
So you see, this chicken with blackberry sauce isn’t just a meal the family enjoys eating. It is also the reason I now have a herb and a vegetable garden.
This recipe is simple and easy to make. There are not very many ingredients, and only a bit of chopping for prep.
While making this dish, I learnt the technique of deglazing a pan. Deglazing is when you add liquid to the pan and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom and they end up as a part of the sauce. Not only does it add flavour to a sauce, it also makes cleaning the pan quite easy.
Recipe: Chicken with Sautéed Blackberry Sauce
(recipe from Clean Eating magazine, August/September 2011 issue)
- 4 6-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 2 9- to 12-oz breasts cut in half)
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/3 cup chopped shallots (1 large shallot)
- 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 cup blackberries
- ½ cup pomegranate juice*
- Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
- In large skillet (not non-stick), heat oil on medium heat. Add chicken and cook, about 6-7 minutes per side, or until it is cooked through. If the skillet is not large enough for all the chicken breasts to fit with space between them, cook in batches. Once cooked, transfer the chicken to serving plates and let rest for 5 minutes.
- While the chicken is resting, place the same skillet on medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook about 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add rosemary and cook about 1 minute more, until shallots are tender.
- Add the blackberries and pomegranate juice to the pan, deglazing the pan by scraping up browned bits from the bottom. Cook until the liquid is reduced to a thin layer, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Top chicken with the blackberry sauce and serve.
* Note: If you don’t have pomegranate juice, you can substitute a half/half mix of cranberry and orange juice. Don’t go with just cranberry juice as the result is just a bit too tart.