By now, you’ve heard about Put ’em Up! Fruit, the new book from Sherri Brooks Vinton, right? I mean, Marisa was dishing about it, as was Sean, and Autumn made the glorious sounding lemon, red onion & oregano jam. And with giveaways all over the blogosphere for the next two weeks, surely it won’t be long before you have a copy in your hot little hands. Right?
When Storey Publishing emailed to ask if I’d like to participate in a “blog tour” of Sherri’s new book, I was happy to agree. After all, I have Sherri’s first book, Put ’em Up!, on my preserving shelf, and I dip into it frequently for ideas & inspiration. And despite my tendency to be annoyingly honest, I felt sure that I would find something to love in Sherri’s new work. I was not wrong.
When I first started paging through Put ’em Up! Fruit, it was like chatting with a kindred spirit: berry apple leather and apple scrap (“peel & pip”) pectin, cherry ancho chile jam and citrus margaritas with homemade grapefruit liqueur: we could be browsing through my garage pantry shelves, deciding what to have for an impromptu back deck dinner party. I was thrilled, of course, to see an emphasis on sourcing local produce, directly from the farm (or your backyard), and using the best produce you can find, at the peak of its flavor, rather than simply picking up whatever is on sale (and quickly going south) at the supermarket. And while my beloved meat + preserves combo is well-represented throughout the book, there were certainly new ideas to be found: pierogis with apple pear sauce, a spring roll dipping sauce made with apricot jam, cranberry molasses, and gastrique, to name a few.
I had every intention of trying something new: blueberry ketchup perhaps, using my stash of wild Maine blueberries, served with sweet potato fries, or lemon gastrique, using my last, precious Rangpur lime and the accompanying recipe for tasty Thai chicken. The week got away from me, however: what with taxes to prepare, data to analyze, and birthday cakes to bake, I ran out of time for more ambitious projects, and went with a simple blueberry jam and pan-roasted chicken. I’m glad I did.
As it turned out, I needed a basic blueberry jam for the afore-mentioned birthday cake, so I turned to my copy of Put ’em Up! Fruit, sitting neglected on the floor by the couch. And yes, I reduced the sugar (because basically every jam recipe in the world is too sweet for me), but other than that it was exactly what I needed: simple, straight-forward, fruit measured by weight and volume; just a nice, simple jam. And today, in my post-birthday-party semi-exhausted haze, it turns out that the recipe accompanying the blueberry jam was a simple skillet-roasted chicken with a jam reduction sauce. There’s even a short demonstration video.Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
I must confess, in my years of combining fruit preserves + meat in a variety of ways, it’s never occurred to me to combine chicken and blueberries. But it was a hit: thoroughly delicious, with just the right notes of savory & sweet. And I appreciate the subtleties in the recipe too: the difference between writing “3 lbs chicken pieces” and “1 whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces, wings & back reserved for stock,” or including the instruction, but also the reason, like “ladling the sauce over the chicken would cover up and soften the gorgeous brown skin.”
So: lovely preserves, interesting ideas for using up all that jam, a local, whole foods focus, and straight-forward, thoughtfully written recipes. You want your own copy, right? Storey Publishing has generously offered to send a copy to one lucky winner (US mailing addresses only, please. Sorry, international folks.) Just leave a comment below telling me your favorite use-it-up trick. Giveaway closes Sunday, April 14th at midnight: a winner will be announced Monday, April 15th. And don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops on the Put ’em Up! Fruit blog tour for more chances to win:
- 4/8 Food In Jars
- 4/9 Punk Domestics
- 4/10 Autumn Makes & Does
- 4/12 Mission: Food
- 4/15 What Julia Ate
- 4/16 Tigress in a Jam
- 4/17 Daily Dish Recipes
- 4/18 Shockingly Delicious
- 4/19 The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking
- 4/22 From Scratch Club
Disclosure: I was provided a copy of Put ’em Up! Fruit free for the purposes of review and participation in the blog tour. One copy will be provided to the giveaway winner, courtesy of Storey Publishing. I received no monetary compensation and all opinions are my own.
Wild Blueberry Jam & Pan-Roasted Chicken with Blueberry Reduction
Wild Blueberry Jam
- 1 quart canned wild blueberries + juice (2 lb 3 oz), or 2 quarts fresh or frozen berries (about 2 and ½ lbs)
- 3 cups (21 oz) sugar
- ¼ cup lemon juice
Pan-Roasted Chicken with Blueberry Reduction
- 1 whole chicken, cut into 4 to 8 pieces (reserve wings and back for stock)
- 2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 1 tbsp flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
- 1 cup dry wine (I used a dry local rosé)
- 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1 pinch dried thyme
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 heaped tbsp wild blueberry jam
Wild Blueberry Jam
- Combine berries, sugar and lemon juice in a large, wide Dutch oven or preserving pot. If using fresh berries you may want to add up to ¼ cup water to prevent burning and draw out juice. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring just until sugar melts. Continue to boil hard, stirring only to prevent sticking, until mixture reaches the gel point (220 degrees F, or a small dollop winkles on a frozen plate), about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Allow jam to rest in the pot, off heat, for 5 minutes. Refrigerate, or can the jam: fill hot jars to ¼-inch head space, bubble jars, wipe rims, affix lids, and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
Yields about 2 pints of jam.
Pan-Roasted Chicken with Blueberry Reduction
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Dry the chicken pieces thoroughly with a clean kitchen towel, then place on a clean plate, skin-side up. Sprinkle with the Kosher salt and allow to come to room temperature, uncovered, while the oven preheats. Resting chicken in the open air dries out the skin a bit and helps to crisp it upon roasting.
- In a large oven-safe skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium heat until hot & shimmering. Add the chicken pieces, skin-side down, without crowding the pan. Brown chicken until the skin is a deep golden brown and pieces lift easily from the surface of the pan, about 5 – 7 minutes. Turn the chicken skin-side up, then transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until cooked through (internal temperature is at least 165 degrees F), about 20 – 25 minutes. Remove the chicken to a clean plate: keep uncovered to maintain crisp skin.
- Drain off all but 2 tbsp of the fat in the skillet, being careful to retain the browned bits and fond. Reserve the poured-off schmaltz for another purpose. Add diced shallot to the skillet and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent, about 3 – 4 minutes. Stir in the flour, then the wine, and bring to a lively simmer, scraping up any bits of fond from the pan as you stir. Simmer until nicely thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, thyme and black pepper, and simmer until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Stir in the blueberry jam and stir until uniform.
- Scrape the reduction sauce onto a serving platter, then top with chicken pieces. Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh thyme.
Serves 4 – 6.
- Sherri’s original Classic Blueberry Jam recipe calls for 2 quarts of fresh blueberries and 4 cups of sugar. I know that for my palate, that would be too sweet, so I reduced it to 3 cups. The book includes a blueberry bourbon jam version, wherein you stir a ¼ cup of bourbon into the jam during the final resting stage. You know I don’t disagree with that plan.
- Sherri’s original chicken recipe called for dry white wine: I had rosé open in the fridge. I guess it would be delicious with any dry wine.
Jam: Canned, store in a cool dark spot for up to 1 year, or refrigerated it will last for several weeks. Chicken & sauce: Refrigerated for up to 5 days: cover once completely cool, in order to maintain crispy skin.
Blueberries are in season in high summer. With canned or frozen blueberries, you can make the jam year-round, and of course, you can make the chicken whenever you have jam.