Need a GOURMET recipe for date night? Something restaurant quality, tasty and beautiful? How about if that dish was also EASY and even a little healthy? Beyond that, what if you could have the whole thing ready in 30 minutes start to finish? Yeah – I’ve got exactly that recipe today, Blueberry Balsamic Chicken.
I know what you are thinking. Go ahead. Say it out loud. “Blueberry Balsamic Chicken????”. I know because I said it myself, but I PROMISE you will be surprised at how simply DELICIOUS this dish actually is. Blueberries are ready and fresh in stores now – and that makes this dish even MORE enticing! Go grab some and try it!
I won’t go on and on and on about Blueberry Balsamic Chicken, because, frankly, if you have been hanging around this site for a while then you probably already trust me when I say something is good. In fact, how do you evaluate a recipe anyway? I know what I do, but I’m wondering what YOU do?
I would love to chat with you about that.
Personally, in a recipe like Blueberry Balsamic Chicken – a main dish – I look for something hearty. I look for some type of meat or a bean or something that will fill your belly. Then I start looking for layers of flavor. I look for salty, peppery, acid, sweet and maybe a little hot – all in one dish together. Those kinds of combinations build umame.
Frankly, I often look for cheese. If something has cheese pulls in a photo – I’m generally hooked. Funny because there are no cheese pulls here. Just table banging flavor.
But here is the thing. I’m crazy for Blueberry Balsamic Chicken NOT because of the meal it produces. I mean – this dish is excellent. This dish makes for a terrific date night or “make someone feel special” night or a birthday celebration – especially if you never tell how easy it is. But the thing is. The REAL thing is, THE LEFTOVERS.
Whatever you do, make absolutely sure that you have leftovers. Because the REAL TREAT in making Blueberry Balsamic Chicken can’t happen unless you have leftovers. But we will leave that recipe for next time. I hope you make it back. You won’t want to miss the recipe that follows this one. Set your alarm clock, watch your email AND FOR HEAVEN’S SAKES – DON’T EAT ALL OF THE Blueberry Balsamic Chicken IN ONE SITTING. SAVE SOME LEFTOVERS! Believe me, an even more terrific recipe is coming and you won’t want to miss it.
INSPIRATION FOR Blueberry Balsamic Chicken
I really have no idea where I got this recipe from. I am assuming that I found the basic recipe on the internet sometime a LONG LONG time ago. It is on my recipe card (I’ll try to show you a picture) and it has been on that ring for a long time. I believe I first found a similar recipe for this chicken in a Cook’s Illustrated Magazine and started fiddling with it, but when I search for that, I can’t find it. I did find a similar recipe at Pure Grace Farms – so maybe that is where I started playing – I’m not sure. Anyway – either resource is super!
THE RECIPE FOR Blueberry Balsamic Chicken
- 2 Tbs Olive Oil (divided)
- 2 Tbs Unsalted Sweet Cream butter (divided)
- 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts - not more than ¾ inch thick at thickest part.
- 2 shallots - thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Cups GOOD balsamic Vinegar
- ⅓ Cup 100% Real Maple Syrup
- 1 Tbs Fresh Rosemary - finely chopped
- 1 Cup Fresh Blueberries
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- Place the baking rack on the second highest rung in the oven and Preheat oven to 350.
- In a large stainless steel skillet over medium high heat, heat 1 Tbs Olive oil with 1 Tbs unsalted sweet cream butter until melted together and glistening.
- Season the chicken breasts on both sides with a sprinkle of salt and pepper (about half of what you have) then sear in the hot olive oil/butter in the skillet on medium high heat until golden on each side (1-2 minutes per side). Then remove to a oven safe baking dish (9x9 or 8x12).
- Add the remaining olive oil and butter to the skillet and when the butter is melted and the oil glistening, add the shallot and cook until translucent then add garlic and cook one minute more. Add the balsamic vinegar all at once and deglaze the pan using a wooden spoon to scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the maple syrup, rosemary, blueberries and remaining salt and pepper.
- Reduce the heat to medium and heat stirring frequently. The mix will start to bubble and when the blueberries collapse (about 10 minutes), remove from the heat and pour over the chicken breasts that are resting in the baking dish. By this time, the mixture will have thickened slightly.
- Place entire dish in the top of the oven and bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR Blueberry Balsamic Chicken
- If your chicken breasts are the big monsterous 1 lbs wonders that pass for chicken breasts anymore, then by all means cut them in half like a book. Those big thick ones are WAY too big for this recipe. Besides, you’ll have more that way!
- Give the chicken a good sear to start and don’t really worry about how “uncooked” they are. When you sear them, you are just adding flavor, you aren’t really cooking them.
- Please remember the SALT and pepper in EACH step. It is VERY important. I know. I’ve made this and waited to add salt and pepper till the end. YUCK! Don’t do that to yourself.
- Don’t skimp on the Balsamic Vinegar or on the maple syrup.
- Use Maple Syrup REAL maple syrup. Do NOT use pancake syrup – lots of reasons – but just don’t. Use 100% REAL maple syrup.
- When you put the blueberries in the pan, you are going to say to yourself, “I don’t know how long I am really supposed to do this”. Trust me when I say, the blueberries will wilt and collapse and you will see it and you will know. Don’t worry about it – but it does take about 10 minutes. They don’t really look like blueberries anymore at that point.
- This meal goes with all kinds of side dishes. My favs are salad (especially one with a fruit in it), mashed potatoes or even wild rice. However, I think the very best side are these rosemary roasted sweet potatoes – the flavors are SO NICE together. Plus, while the sweet potato is delicious – it is pretty darn good for you cooked this way! If you don’t like sweet potatoes, trust me and try them this way. I don’t like them either – but I do love them cooked like this. Don’t forget some lovely Texas Toast. YUM!
- You are going to put the chicken in the oven and then say, “it just can’t be done in that short of a time” but it will be done. Set a timer and DO NOT LET it run over. If it over cooks, the chicken will be dry – and ewww – that’s just sad. This is the ONE time where I will tell you that it is OK to cut into the chicken to check and see if it is done. The juices won’t really go anywhere. Normally I would SCREAM if you did that to chicken on the grill or in the pan – because the juices go running out and you are left with a big dry piece of CUT chicken that is plain ol ugly.
- I’m also going to tell you – I LOVE the smell of that balsamic vinegar cooking away on the stove – but everyone doesn’t – and it WILL smell up your kitchen. If you have one of those grill eyes on your grill – you could do this outside on the grill if you live with someone sensitive. My Sandy was going around here with her shirt pulled up over her nose saying, “You know I can’t stand that smell”.
- Hang ON TO THE LEFTOVERS! I have a great recipe coming next time that you have to have these leftovers to make. You won’t be sorry. At all!
A VERSE TO SHARE
Some of you have so kindly asked about my hiking trip to the top of Mt. LeConte – the 3rd highest peak in the Smokies. I want to go take a picture of my dining room where it looks like the REI store blew up (everything is laid out to dry) to give you some idea of what happened at the end. At the risk of telling too much though – I’ll just leave it at that.
Do you know what the real story of hiking to the top of a mountain is? It isn’t the brand of hiking boots, the type of backpack, your age or the items you pack in your overnight bag. It isn’t the kind of food you carry or the SPF of your sunscreen. The real story is about who you choose to travel with.
If you are my friend on facebook, you’ve already seen me post that I have relied on, trusted and loved these ladies for over 32 years and I would face anything with them. Honestly, we have faced a lot together already- marriages, births, deaths, divorces, breakups, graduations, advanced educations, weight gain, weight loss, indecisions and heartache to name a few. Why wouldn’t we face this mountain, rain, instant mashed potatoes and 50 together?
I alluded to this in my previous post. Starting out, I was really concerned about being able physically to make it to the top and also about my clumsiness. It is a long long way to the bottom.
I think I said the Lord’s Prayer about a thousand times and stopped to breath about a thousand times more, but I made it. I had 9 of my near lifelong best friends with me and Jesus – so, what could go wrong.
With that, I’ll just let a few pictures explain what I can’t even begin to. If you are wanting to tackle a goal like this, I encourage you to investigate it and then train for it. Train really really hard. I didn’t train hard enough and I hope you will. Then pray. Pray. Pray.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.