Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Black cherry balsamic glazed chicken

I found this recipe in my Cooking Light cookbook and knew in a heartbeat that this would become a go-to recipe.  The ingredients are simple, the prep and cooking are fast, and the finished product looks and tastes impressive.  A great choice for last-minute dinner guests or if you just want something that feels a little further removed from your family's traditional fare.

The original Cooking Light recipe calls for seedless raspberry preserves.  I didn't have any so I used black cherry instead.  You can actually substitute just about any flavor you like.  This is one of those can't-miss recipes!

Here's what you need:

Your choice of non-stick cooking spray or olive oil (to lightly coat the skillet)
1/2 chopped red onion
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
4 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/3 cup black cherry preserves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (use red wine vinegar...or red wine!...if you don't have balsamic)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

I will tell you up front, I don't measure the salt and pepper, I have a heavy hand with the balsamic, and I may have used more than the suggested 1/2 teaspoon of thyme.  I usually go by look and smell...and sometimes taste, when I make these sorts of recipes.  Unless you are a timid cook, I say let loose and experiment.

Here's how you put it all together:

Using your choice of cooking spray or olive/vegetable oil, saute your onions for five minutes over medium-high heat.  Combine thyme plus half of the salt and sprinkle this over the raw chicken breasts.

Add the chicken to the pan with the onions and saute approximately six minutes per side or until done.  The breasts should be a nice golden brown.  Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm.  A foil covered plate or serving dish will suffice as you're nearly finished anyway.

Reduce the heat under the pan to medium-low.  Add the remaining ingredients to the pan, stirring constantly until the preserves liquefy.  This deglazes the pan and picks up all that yummy chicken flavor. 

Spoon the mixture over the chicken breasts and serve!

Super simple and so impressive!  I served mine with rice and asparagus but the possibilities are only as limited as the ingredients you have on hand.

I think I might try this again using some of my mother's homemade pepper jelly and serve it with polenta and a salad.  I'll be curious to hear about the variations you come up with, too!