Good morning! What a beautiful, sun-shiny day!! Cool nights and warm, sunny skies should make for an explosion of fall colors soon! I can hardly wait! Just wish fall would last a bit longer, though. It always flies by so fast that if you don’t take advantage of each and every day, you practically miss it! Then winter roars in, takes over and lasts forever! But I don’t even want to think about snow, slush and cold yet, no jumping seasons! Just enjoying each beautiful day to the fullest and patiently waiting for the football games to start! Though I LOVE football, I think I like just as much, if not even more!, the fun game day grub and a few ice cold beers! I’ll be sharing a whole week’s worth soon! 😉 (Don’t get all excited! Just some recipes, not my beer!) 😉
But back to the chicken! This blackberry chicken was the perfect compliment to the warm autumn day with it’s bright cheery color bursting with blackberries, a hint of balsamic, and just a touch of cinnamon and spice! It even tastes like fall! I left this rustic-style with the seeds in, but I think next time I’ll go back to mashing it through a fine mesh strainer and remove them. I just seem to have an aversion to blackberry seeds in my teeth, you know what I mean? Some seeds have a nice, delicate crunch, but these little buggers are just plain a nuisance. So if you don’t mind the seeds, you can leave them in. If you’re more like me, I highly recommend straining the sauce to make it smooth. If you’d like a little kick, this is also very good with a bit of cayenne, too. But add a small amount at a time (1/16 – 1/8 tsp. at a time), because this cooks down and doesn’t make a whole lot. A little cayenne goes a long way! If wanting to “fancy it up”, you can butterfly them and fill the centers with goat cheese or seasoned cream cheese. This sauce is also wonderful on ribs, too, and as a spread on hot sandwiches and paninis with roast pork, turkey or beef. Cheeses that pair well could include swiss or gouda, brie, white cheddar, asiago, havarti, muenster, provolone or fresh mozzarella just to suggest a few. A little red onion and some peppery arugula and you’ve got yourself one darn good panini! 😉 But even “plain”, as I served it this time, it’s wonderful just as is!!
Here it is before going into the oven. All dressed and ready to go!
I think you’ll really enjoy this, and even the kiddos too, because it isn’t overly seasoned so much so that tiny, new sharp tastebuds have a difficult time tolerating. This goes beautifully with my Fresh Pineapple Rice with Sweet Baby Peas & Onions , or would also go nicely with a nutty wild rice, or even scalloped potatoes and oven-roasted, late-summer veggies. Hope the weather is as beautiful in your backyard as it is in ours! Enjoy the last of the summer! Maybe we’ll get lucky and have an “Indian Summer”! Take care all and talk to you later!
BLACKBERRY BALSAMIC CHICKEN
2 cups *wild blackberries (*they are smaller and more intense in flavor), or sub regular
1/4 cup sugar, or more to taste depending on sweetness of berries
1 Tbl. aged sweet balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. orange juice
1/2 tsp. Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce, or bbq sauce of choice
1/4 tsp. dried thyme, crushed between fingers and thumb when adding
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1/16 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbl. real butter
Rest of Ingredients:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 6-8 boneless skinless thighs, trimmed of fat
salt and pepper to season on both sides
Add sauce ingredients, *except butter, to medium saucepan, heat to a simmer over medium high heat, lower heat to LOW and simmer 20-25 minutes until thickened. Leave as is or pour into wire mesh strainer over sink and mash through strainer with back of spoon back into the same pan to remove seeds. Stir in butter until melted. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13×9 pan with butter-flavored cooking spray. (I like Crisco’s because it smells like buttered popcorn!)
Place seasoned, trimmed chicken breasts into prepared pan pretty side-up, top each with the sauce using all of it. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. *If the breasts seem overly large, add 5 minutes. Slice at an angle, and serve fanned over a nice bed of rice, or with side dishes of choice. Garnish with finely chopped fresh parsley if you have it on hand.