Blackberry Balsamic Chicken with Apricot Jeweled Couscous…hmmm…just the name makes me hungry. This meal is a perfect blend of sweet and savory. Such a treat for your taste buds and your eyes. It is an easy meal to make and yet feels so gourmet.
I love blackberries so much. It comes as no surprise to me that I would create a meal where blackberries would be the featured ingredient. A while back now, one of my dearest friends had started growing blackberries in her back yard. This is not a commonality in Southern California as our backyards tend to be rather small. You can imagine how thrilled I was that summer when she had blackberries practically coming out of her ears. Of course her being one of my dearest friends, I had blackberries coming out of my ears. I do believe that was the summer I realized my love for the blackberry. Back then I was just eating them by the handful. Fast forward to today and my wheels are always turning as to find new ways to use ingredients I love.
What I think I love most about this Blackberry Balsamic Chicken with Apricot Jeweled Couscous recipe is it uses simple ingredients. There are two things I did for the sake of the picture that I would recommend changing when preparing the recipe. I did not strain the blackberry sauce to remove the seeds and I used Israeli couscous rather than original couscous. Both of these were intentional because it creates more texture for the photos (texture creates the yum factor). If you don’t mind blackberry seeds then you can skip the straining step. I love the looks of Israeli couscous, however, I prefer the dainty texture of original couscous. Depending on the type of couscous you choose, the cooking steps will change slightly. I wrote the recipe for the dainty original type of couscous. Keep in mind that if you choose the Israeli couscous, the ingredients are the same but the steps are just a bit different.
The simplicity of this meal is amazing. You drizzle the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. While the chicken bakes, boil all the ingredients minus the cornstarch for the Blackberry Balsamic sauce. Crush the berries just a bit and then strain. Thicken with cornstarch and the sauce is done. The couscous is even easier. Cut the apricots. Boil the chicken broth, lemon juice and olive oil. Add the couscous and apricots. Cover with a lid and take on the flame. 5 mins later the couscous is done. See what I mean about simple? The hardest part is waiting for the chicken to bake and figuring out which veggie to have.
For anyone who is trying to keep their sugar intake down, you can lower the total amount of brown sugar down to 6 tbsp rather than the 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) it calls for. I felt the 1/2 cup gave the glaze a perfect balance of sweet to savory. Lowering it will make it a bit more savory.
If you have a special day that you want to celebrate but are short on time and energy, this Blackberry Balsamic Chicken with Apricot Jeweled Couscous could be the perfect solution.
Blackberry Balsamic Chicken with Apricot Jeweled Couscous
- For the Chicken
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp thyme
- salt & pepper
- For the Blackberry Balsamic Sauce
- 12 oz fresh blackberries
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar *packed
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot
- For the Apricot Jeweled Couscous
- 10 oz couscous
- juice of 1 small lemon
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 -2 cups of diced apricots
For the Chicken- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken breasts in a large baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle thyme, salt & pepper over chicken. Bake for 40 minutes or until reaches internal temperature of 165 degrees.
For the Blackberry Balsamic Sauce- Place all ingredients for blackberry balsamic sauce in a med saucepan with the exception of the cornstarch. Bring to a boil over med/high heat stirring often. Let boil for approximately 12 minutes or until blackberries are easy to break apart. The next step is optional. Once blackberries are broken apart fairly well, strain through a fine mesh colander to remove seeds. Place strained Blackberry sauce in original saucepan and add cornstarch. Cook over a med/low heat whisking consistently until sauce thickens- approximately 6-7 minutes. Once thickened, take off of heat.
For the Apricot Jeweled Couscous- Measure couscous in a med bowl and set aside. Dice and measure apricots and add to couscous bowl. Bring broth, lemon juice and olive oil to a boil in a med sauce pan. Add couscous and apricots. Cover pan and remove from heat. Let stand until liquid is absorbed, approximately 5 minutes. Fluff and serve.
Assembly- Cut chicken breasts in strips and place next to couscous. Spoon Blackberry Balsamic Sauce over chicken and couscous. Serve with veggies.
*Please use as many organic ingredients as possible.*