Some months ago, my friend Mary from Delaware City sent me a recipe for Blueberry Chicken.
When I read the ingredients, I really wasn’t sure I wanted to try it. I mean, blueberries, chicken, mustard? But then my friend Tim mentioned having seen it in the New York Times, and there were a lot of great reviews about it online, so I thought it was a sign.
It’s tasty, but definitely different.
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1½ pounds total)
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1tablespoon ground coriander*
1teaspoon hot paprika
3cups fresh blueberries (about 18 ounces)
3tablespoons whole-grain mustard, plus more to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
½ cup picked tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
Crusty bread, for serving
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Use a paper towel to pat the chicken thighs dry; generously season them all over with salt.
Place the thighs skin side down in a medium or large oven-safe skillet, making sure the pan is large enough to avoid crowding. Turn the heat to medium and cook, undisturbed, until the fat on the chicken skin has rendered, the thighs release easily from the pan and the skin is a golden brown with splotches of dark brown, about 15 minutes. Flip the thighs over and cook until the other side is golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a plate, setting it skin side up. Return the skillet to medium heat, add the garlic and ⅓ cup of water, and scrape up any browned bits with a stiff spatula or wooden spoon. Simmer until water has mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes.
*You could use pre-ground coriander, but freshly ground adds so much fragrance and flavor to the dish, take a few minutes if you can to grind your own.
Add the coriander and paprika and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the blueberries, mustard, honey and a large pinch of salt. Stir to combine, then bring to a simmer. Place the thighs on top, skin side up, pressing gently to nestle them into the sauce.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until the blueberries have burst and the thighs are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Finish with freshly cracked black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Taste the sauce and season with salt, pepper and mustard.
Garnish with tarragon and serve alongside thick slices of crusty bread.
There will be plenty of sauce left, and the Times recommends saving it for use as a sandwich condiment. The crusty bread is great with the chicken and sauce, but I personally wouldn’t go THAT far.
Try it with a little Montaudon Extra Dry Champagne for a nice treat.