Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tuscan Blueberry Port Chicken Breast

Italians are accustomed to turning to the land for culinary inspiration. For every cook who stops by a supermarket to pick up a roast of beef or some chicken breasts, several more will return from the woods with rabbits, ducks or even wild boar for dinner.
Hunting is an age old tradition in Italy, but one that is still embraced to this day in hundreds of little hilltowns and villages. When in Tuscany on holiday, we'll go out of our way to find roasted duck or rabbit on the menu.

Just north of Rhadda is one of our favorite places for wine tasting, Castello di Volpaia. Tour the winery,taste the superb wines and then enjoy a delicious dinner at the winery's excellent ristorante, La Bottega Their pastas are simply delicious, and the cinghiale, wild boar, is the best we have ever had. It's clearly easy to see why their hunter's style dinners are so popular on their menu. Real Italian fare to celebrate life and the bounty of land.

Back at home I'm often experimenting with new recipes in my kitchen, and as we eat a lot of chicken or turkey this was one of my efforts to replicate a marvelous duck dish with the lightest plum sauce I had the last time we visited La Bottega. I subbed in last of the fresh picked blueberries I had in the freezer along with some organic boneless chicken breasts in place of the duck breast. Though I have made this both ways now, I am sort of torn to which I prefer, the duck or chicken. So if you have an appreciation for game meats, do try this recipe. It's a breeze to prepare and even better, it's a heart healthy recipe too!

Blueberry Port Chicken Breast

1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice- I used POM
4 organic boneless chicken breasts
olive oil
sea salt & ground pepper
2 lemons, sliced
dried rosemary, thyme, parsley
10 shallots, minced
8 oz fresh blueberries
1 cup Port wine
3 TBLS lemon juice

Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts and place in a resealable bag and add pomegranate juice. Push out all excess air, seal and refrigerate overnight or aty least six hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove chicken breasts from the marinade and sprinkle with sea salt & ground pepper.Reserve leftover marinade liquid. Place the lemon slices on top and a sprinkle of dried rosemary, thyme and parsley.Drizzle 2 tsp olive oil over chicken pieces and bake 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake another 25 minutes. Remove the chicken breasts from oven and keep warm.

Transfer 3-4 TBLS of pan drippings to a saute pan and saute shallots until lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Add the blueberries, remaining pomegranate marinade and Port wine. Bring to a light boil and cook for another 4 minutes to reduce liquids slightly. Stir in the lemon juice, mashing some of the blueberries.

To serve, spoon a large ladle of the blueberry sauce onto a warm serving plate. Thinly slice the chicken or duck breasts and place on top of the sauce. Top with remaining sauce and serve. Enjoy!


Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

This is such an unique recipe! I love blueberries but have never incorporated them into a recipe besides a dessert.

Did you visit San Gimignano while in Tuscany? The wild boar served there was also superb!

Karen said...

Love the Port in there. I made a POM-Blueberry sauce for some venison a while back and it was really good.

YankeeSoaper said...

Thank you Pat & for stopping by. Visit San Gimignano?? It's one of my fave hilltowns! ;) And yes,we did have boar there as well at a very nice restaurant.. and though it was good, we still prefer the ambiance of Volpaia's La Bottega.

YankeeSoaper said...

Hi Karen
I recall your post on venison with blueberry sauce. Now I'm gonna have to return & compare notes! ;) We really enjoy this sauce & it's equally as nice over pork dishes.


The combination of chicken and dark, juicy berries reminds me of the French dish coq au vin. The juice and berries take the place of the wine. The only thing that's missing is bacon -- pancetta?

YankeeSoaper said...

Well yes & no Patricia..Coq au vin to me is more of a ragout, or stewed dish with mushrooms, bacon, onions, carrots in a red fuller bodied, Burgandy sauce.
In addition to the blueberries and pomegranate--I chose the Port or sweet wine for this sweet/tart sauce and of course omitted the traditional barnyard rooster ;o)

~~louise~~ said...

I haven't given up on my dream of some day visiting Italy, Jady. it looks just as I imagine...

It's funny that you have shared a dish glistening with blueberries. I was just today contemplating planting a few bushes by the new shed I have on order. I too am out of my sumer time stash and would love to attempt to re-create your Blueberry Port Chicken Breast. I adore the notion of port and blueberries. I think I'll just have to save this post for Blueberry Month in July. Who knows how many blueberries I'll have stashed by then. Thanks for sharing!!!

YankeeSoaper said...

Thanks Louise. I'm so jealous! We are getting clobbered here tomorrow with more stormy weather & you are deciding where to plant your blueberries? Can I come live w you? xoxo LOL

Claudia said...

I am bookmarking this - I ahve the last of my frozen blueberries and this is the perfect way to use them up. I am amazed at the Italian recipes - all local,all off the land all using meats and plants and tree leaves - forragers really. And smart.

~~louise~~ said...

You're welcome to come live with me Jady but I must warn you, I'm getting a new room mate this weekend. I was actually suppose to be headed for New York today to pick her up and was held back by this horrible weather. The wind is literally howling! I guess I spoke too soon about my planting thoughts:)

~~louise~~ said...

P. S. Another flower bloomed on the scented geranium today:)