there’s a restaurant in kittery, maine that my family loves to visit when we’re in town for some outlet shopping called robert’s maine grill. the menu is simple but delicious, and i’ve only ever had one dish that i was less than impressed by – a blueberry chicken specialty that even the waitress was a little bit unsure about. my husband was a good sport and wanted to try it anyway, but we were both hoping for something more interesting than what arrived at our table. the chicken was cooked perfectly, but the blueberry sauce was a bit bland. i really wanted some of the blueberry flavor to be infused in the chicken breast itself, but it seemed that the chicken had been cooked separately and simply been topped with sauce before serving.
while the dish at this restaurant wasn’t particularly successful, the idea intrigued me, and last night i tried my hand at a variation of this dish. i wanted more overall flavor and to get the sweetness of fresh blueberries into the tender chicken breast.
you will need:
3-4 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tsp white granulated sugar
1 tsbp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper to taste
place chicken breasts into a casserole or baking dish and top with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, coriander, salt and pepper. cover and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour (i marinated mine for 5).
preheat your oven to 350 degrees. place a medium skillet on high heat, and add chicken breasts skin-down, along with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar marinade. allow to cook for 4 minutes on each side. try not to move the chicken around too much – this will let it get a beautiful golden brown color to the skin.
place the chicken back into the dish, and add to the skillet the butter, sugar, and lemon juice. allow the butter and sugar to melt, then add the blueberries.
allow the blueberries to simmer with the rest of the ingredients for about 5 minutes. the sauce will darken and take on a beautiful violet tone from the berries.
once the sauce has thickened, spoon the sauce on top of the chicken breasts. put the chicken into the oven and cook uncovered for 30-35 minutes.
remove the chicken from the pan and place onto a greased or parchment paper-covered baking dish, and pop back into the oven for 5 additional minutes – this will give the skin a final crisping. in the meantime, scoop the sauce back into the skillet to thicken it up a bit more and keep warm while chicken is crisping.
plate and serve. i served ours with some green beans topped with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and it complimented the chicken nicely. the chicken had a great crispy skin but was still very moist inside, and allowing it to cook in and out of the blueberry sauce really brought out the flavors i was after.