I love love love Italian food. I love eating it, I love cooking it, I love going to restaurants that serve nothing but it. During the past week and a half, I’ve made swordfish and spaghetti with a citrus pesto, Italian mac&cheese (I used some sort of fancy macaroni noodle with frills on the edge that was oh-so-fun), prosciutto-ricotta-spinach ravioli in wonton wrappers, and bruschetta chicken and pasta. All very Italian and all very delicious. But tonight, I wanted to cook something a little different. I also didn’t want to buy groceries. Thus, rosemary chicken and polenta with blueberry sauce was born. I had blueberries in the fridge and a request from my dad to make a sauce with them, so I searched online and found a recipe from SimpleRecipes.com for Rosemary Chicken Skewers with Berry Sauce. Now, both my mother and my uncle have said “Always follow the recipe exactly as it is the first time, then tweak it as you will if you want to when you make it again.” Well, I didn’t have the blackberries, apple cider vinegar, and red currant jelly needed for the sauce, and I didn’t want to grill, so I threw caution to the wind and substituted in blueberries, red wine vinegar, and strawberry-rhubarb jam, and sauteed instead. Success! The recipe didn’t include a side dish, so I made a simple rosemary polenta and it went fabulously with the berry sauce. Below is my version of this recipe.
Prep. time: 1 hour, 10 minutes (hour is for the marinade)
Cooking time: 30 minutes
For the chicken:
- 2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I only used two; my mom and I split one and my dad ate the other)
- 2 tablespoons of chopped, fresh rosemary
- 1/4 cup of dry white wine or vermouth (I used vermouth)
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
For the sauce:
- 1 and 3/4 cups of fresh blueberries
- 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of berry jam (I used strawberry-rhubarb jam)
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
For the polenta:
- 1/2 lb. of polenta (I used an instant polenta mix. It tastes just fine and it’s easy to make)
- 4 cups of chicken broth (instant polenta usually says to use water, but chicken broth gives it better flavor)
- A dash of salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary (I also sprinkled in a little dried rosemary at the last minute because it has a stronger flavor)
Place the chicken breasts in a bowl. Add the wine/vermouth, olive oil, rosemary, and pepper to the bowl. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator to marinate for approx. 1 hour.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and set aside, reserving the marinade. To make the sauce, pour the marinade into a sauce pan and add the berries. Simmer gently until the berries are soft. Press the mixture through a strainer and discard the berry pulp. Return the mixture to the sauce pan and add the vinegar, jam, and nutmeg and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, until it’s reached a syrup-like consistency.To keep it warm, place it over the lowest heat, uncovered.
In the meantime, heat oil in a sauce pan and saute the chicken until both sides are golden brown and the insides are no longer pink. In a pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil and follow the directions on the polenta box (slowly whisk in polenta and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens and easily pulls away from the sides of the pot). Add in the fresh rosemary and sprinkle in salt and pepper, to taste.
Plate the chicken and polenta and spoon the berry sauce over each.
This recipe was delicious and perfect for warm summer weather! The blueberry sauce was sweet and tangy, and the rosemary in both the chicken and polenta brought the two together. A vegetable would be a great addition to the dish—asparagus would work very well. All in all, a delicious dish! I know that sweet berries in a savory dish might seem a little odd, but it’s a wonderful combination. And for me, it was a step away from pasta, marinara, and parmesan cheese.