By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time
I’m sure you’ve all heard the famous phrase “antioxidants will protect me” from that most adorable commercial. When I think of this phrase, blueberries are the first thing that pop into my mind. However, I wasn’t familiar with the differences between wild and cultivated ones until recently when the Wild Blueberry Association of North America (WBANA) challenged the Recipe Reduxers to develop a healthy recipe highlighting the deliciousness and versatility of wild blueberries.
Wild blueberries are much smaller than regular blueberries and are grown in Maine, eastern Canada and Quebec. They are as natural and untainted as can be. They have not been modified in any way by man and have remain unchanged for over 10,000 years!
Wild blueberries boast a more intense blueberry flavor and have double the antioxidants, a deeper blue pigment, and less water (making them more suited for freezing and perfect for baking) compared to the regular.
Most wild blueberries are frozen at harvest, but don’t you worry. They are just as nutritious and delicious as fresh ones. I love that I can stock up on them and use them straight out of the freezer without having to thaw them. You should, too, and enjoy that unmistakeable tart, sweet flavor all throughout the year! And remember…antioxidants will protect you ;).
While I normally gravitate towards sweet dishes when it comes to blueberries, I wanted to showcase their versatility. I absolutely love the flavors of ginger and cinnamon with this super fruit, as I’ve found that they really intensify the unique blueberry flavor, and as you can see, I did not shy away from them in this savory dish. Honestly, I had my doubts, but the final product was thrilling. I was afraid that between the filling and the sauce, it might be blueberry overkill. Not so. Chicken is one of those proteins that pairs so perfectly with fruit, and in this application, it was no different. The earthiness of the cornmeal crust, pecans, and complementary spices held the vibrant flavors of the berries and lemon in check. Each component lent something special to the dish – the pecans added some textural contrast while the ginger provided a warmth to the finish of each bite…and I could go on and on, but you’ll just have to experience it for yourself!
You can also find this post at the Healthy Aperture Blog where I contribute monthly to the Make Ahead column. Stuffing, breading, and cooking chicken may seem daunting for those pressed for time, but you can prepare the chicken and filling in advance (I don’t recommend stuffing until the last minute as I’ve found that it gets too liquid-y). The rest of the steps come together rather easily and quickly, and you can prepare the sauce while the chicken is getting delicious in the oven.
Do you like blueberries? Have you tried wild blueberries? What is your favorite way to enjoy them?
- 4 chicken breasts
- ½ tsp salt and pepper
- 1 egg
- ½ cup cornmeal + ½ tsp salt and pepper
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups chopped kale
- ¾ cup part-skim ricotta
- 1 cup frozen wild blueberries
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ginger
- 2 cups frozen wild blueberries
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbs honey
- ½ tsp ginger
- 1 Tbs lemon zest
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
- Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 3-5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add kale and cook until slightly withered.
- In a large bowl, combine ricotta, berries, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pecans. Combine with kale mixture.
- Slice chicken breasts lengthwise starting on the thinnest side and butterfly. Place breasts in between sheets of plastic wrap and pound (starting at the center) to ¼ inch thickness. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Distribute filling onto each chicken breast. Roll up chicken and secure with toothpicks.
- Place beaten egg in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, add cornmeal with salt and pepper. Dip each rolled chicken breast in egg and then into cornmeal mixture.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add coated chicken and sear on all sides. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Once all chicken rolls have been seared bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Discard toothpicks.
- To prepare blueberry sauce - In a small saucepan, heat all the ingredients. Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until slightly thickened.