Blueberry Chicken

Sautéed with Cognac and Blueberry Chutney
This was one of the first recipes I used on my nightly specials board. I'd come into the kitchen in the morning to update the executive chef as to the previous night's numbers, and to post my new specials. The produce order had just come in, and there were 3 flats of blueberries waiting to go in the walk-in. I started thinking, "Hmm, blueberries taste like this... and chicken tastes like this...," tasting the food in my head. What if I made a chutney from blueberries, with some orange rind and ginger and cognac, dredged the chicken in flour and ground ginger and cumin, flamed off the dish with additional cognac and garnished it with curled orange rind?

The first night I ran the special, only one sold. Maybe people weren't ready for blue food. I pulled it out again a few weeks later, though, and it sold four. By the end of the summer, word of mouth had spread, and I was getting nightly requests for it. The flavors of the blueberries, ginger, and onions playing off the orange, cumin, and chicken were irresistible.

For 2

Ingredients

Blueberry Chutney:
6 oz. Blueberries
4 Splashes Balsamic Vinegar
½ Cup Fresh Orange Juice
2 T Orange Rind (loosely chopped)
½ Onion (loosely chopped)
2 T (2 inches) Ginger Root (loosely chopped)
4 Cloves Garlic (loosely chopped)
Salt
Black Pepper
8 Cloves
¼ t Cinnamon
1 T Olive Oil
¾ Cup Brandy or Cognac

1 # (2 Boneless Breasts) Chicken

Flour mixture:
1 Cup Flour
1 t Cumin
2 t Ground Ginger
1 t Thyme
Salt
Black Pepper

2 T Olive Oil
2 T Butter

Directions

Rinse the blueberries and put them in a bowl. Using a pestle (or a spoon, or a potato masher, or a ladle), break up the blueberries, breaking the skin and exposing the meat. Add your vinegar, orange juice, orange rind, onion, ginger, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, salt, pepper, olive oil, and ¼ cup of brandy or cognac, and mix together thoroughly with a whisk. Now you have your blueberry chutney.

Rinse your chicken breasts, and put in the bowl with the chutney, being sure to fully cover the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap, and put in the fridge to marinate for an hour or two.

After an hour or two, combine the flour, cumin, ginger, salt, pepper, and thyme on a plate with a fork. Take the chicken out of the chutney, wiping off any of the extraneous blueberries and onions with your fingers. Reserve the chutney.

Dredge the chicken through the flour mixture and set aside. Put 2 T olive oil and 2 T butter in a sauté pan and bring to a medium high heat. Place your chicken in the pan and sauté for approximately 8 minutes. Flip the breasts and cook for another 6 minutes.

Get a match ready. Pour the remaining ½ cup of brandy (or cognac) into the pan, and light the match, holding near the alcohol. Shake the pan rapidly as the fire burns off, and add your chutney into the pan. Reduce the heat to medium, and continue to cook for 5 minutes.

Lay the chicken breast on your plate, spooning some of the excess chutney from the pan over it. Garnish with excess orange rind.

Serve with Rosemary Rice and carrots.

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