Simple Chicken Recipe with Blackberry Sauce

This chicken recipe is inspired by a meeting I had some years ago at a grilling demo sponsored by the Weber folks in Portland, OR. I came up with this idea to make use of the area’s iconic berries, in season at the time. I don’t remember much about the day now, except that all of the invited chefs grilled out on the rooftop of a downtown building without catching anyone or anything on fire, and that everyone loved this dish.

Tips for Making Your Own Sauce

Once you start making your own sauce, you’ll never want to buy it from the jar again. If you really want to DIY it, you can try making your own stock, too, either chicken or vegetable. But we all have to start somewhere. The great thing about making your own sauce is that you can taste it as you go and get it to the flavor you want, instead of just going with what you bought: so taste as you make it and take the time to get it to your preference. You also want to pay attention to how much the berries disintegrate, because you can always get them softer, but you can’t go back once they lose their solids. With any home cooking, it’s important to experiment based on what you (or whoever you’re cooking for!) like, because in your own kitchen, you’re the boss.

Simple Chicken with Blackberry Sauce Recipe

Simple Chicken with Blackberry Sauce Ingredients

  • 6 large boneless skinless individual chicken breasts, pounded ½ to ¾ inch thick
  • 1 tsp freshly milled black pepper
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil spray
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs, for garnish

For the Blackberry Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 2 cups chicken stock, preferably low-sodium
  • 2 cups blackberries or loganberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary or ½ tsp crumbled dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme
  • Salt
  • Blackberry, loganberry, or raspberry jelly, jam, or preserves, optional

Chicken with Blackberry Sauce Preparation Instructions

For the Blackberry Sauce:

  1. To prepare the sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the shallot and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the stock, berries, rosemary, and thyme, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the berries have disintegrated, about 20 additional minutes.
  3. Strain the sauce into a bowl, pressing on the solids to extract from them as much liquid as possible. Return the sauce to the saucepan and season it with salt. If the sauce tastes overly tart, stir in a bit of jelly, if you wish to balance the flavor. Continue cooking the sauce until it has reduced to about 1½ cups. (The sauce can be prepared a day ahead to this point, cooled, and refrigerated covered. Reheat before proceeding.)

For the Chicken:

  1. Fire up the grill, bringing the temperature to medium (where you can hold your hand comfortably an inch or two about the cooking grate for 4-5 seconds before needing to pull it away).
  2. Pepper the chicken and salt it lightly. Just before grilling, spritz the breasts with the oil.
  3. Grill the chicken uncovered over medium heat for 5-6 minutes per side, until opaque but still juicy. Brush lightly with the sauce when you turn the cooked side of the chicken up, and coat the second side when it comes off the grill. Serve hot with the remaining sauce, garnished with rosemary.

Story by Cheryl Alters Jamison / Styling by Anna Franklin / Photography by Dave Bryce

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