Monday, March 22, 2021

Spring Grilling...Featuring Grilled Chicken with Blueberry-Merlot Sauce #grilling #chicken #blueberry #cookwithwine

The weather is starting to turn a bit warmer here in Texas, which means it's time to fire up our backyard grill for the Spring/Summer season! Texas BBQ is typically heavily seasoned and cooked without BBQ sauce -- if it's added, it's always after a spin on a smoker/grill. Today, though? I'm sharing something that's vastly different from the BBQ I grew up with! My Grilled Chicken with Blueberry-Merlot Sauce may sound unusual, but I promise it’s a winning flavor profile! A savory-sweet sauce is made with fresh in-season blueberries, fruity Merlot wine, sweetly-tart balsamic, shallot, and a few herbs and spices. The sauce is made ahead and both brushed on and poured over grilled boneless chicken breasts.

Grilled Chicken with Blueberry-Merlot Sauce
Sauce inspired by Food and Wine
Ingredients (makes 4-6 servings):
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2.5 lbs.)
  • 1 cup Italian salad dressing [NOTE: I use Newman's Own Balsamic Vinaigrette]
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
For the sauce:
  • 1.5 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup Merlot wine
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. chile paste
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Step 1Add the chicken breast and Italian dressing to a large zip top bag. Toss to combine and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes -- but up to overnight is fine.

Step 2Make the sauce by adding the blueberries, Merlot, balsamic, honey, rosemary, shallot, ginger, and chile paste to a medium saucepan. Give the ingredients a stir to combine, then place the heat on med-high. Once the sauce begins to bubble, reduce the heat to medium. Simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes, until the berries begin to pop and the sauce thickens. Cool the sauce to room temperature, and add salt & pepper to taste. Set aside while you prep the chicken.
Step 3Grill the marinated chicken breasts on an outdoor grill or indoor cast iron grill pan. [NOTE: If using a grill pan, be sure to brush the pan liberally with olive oil and preheat on med-high for at least 5 minutes to ensure the best sear.] As the chicken grills, brush some of the blueberry-Merlot sauce on top of each piece. Grill the chicken for 5-7 minutes per side -- depending on thickness -- until cooked through and juicy. Arrange the cooked chicken on a serving platter and pour the remaining blueberry-Merlot sauce on top before serving.
OMG, y'all!! This flavorful chicken is a fun, modern take on traditional grilled chicken! Even the pickiest eaters in my family gave the savory-sweet blueberry-Merlot sauce a huge  thumbs up. The sauce is slightly sweet from the blueberries and honey, and it has a slight kick from the ginger and chile sauce. The Merlot and rosemary provide an earthy depth of flavor the brings the entire dish together, I like to serve this dish with corn-on-the-cobb and basmati rice pilaf. What a keeper! I can’t wait to make this dinner again while blueberries are in season and inexpensive. 

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