I’ve heard it often said that sweet and spicy go well together as they enhance each other’s flavor. Well, this braised chicken and berries proves the truth of that statement. The chicken fillets were cooked in white wine with sweet-tangy dried berries, ginger and chili. Pearl onions and toasted almonds were added for a surprising contrast.
I often buy dried fruits to munch on. Prunes are the most common since they are my ever-reliable answer to indigestion. But I like dried berries too.
And there was this half-finished bag of dried mixed berries that I had forgotten about. I was planning on making a chicken and rice casserole for dinner and I was going through the kitchen cabinets in search of the packet of paellero that I was sure I still had. I did find it but I also found the bag of dried berries. And, fixated on the berries, I changed my mind about what I’d cook for dinner.
Why berries? Well, why not? Fruits are great in savory dishes. They add so much flavor, they thicken the sauce as they liquefy and they throw in such lovely colors too. So, again, why not? And it was at about the same time that I remembered everything I’ve heard about sweet and spicy going together like hand in glove. I figured that ginger and chili flakes would provide the heat to complement the sweet-tangy berries. And for depth — white wine.
And, armed with all those theories, I cooked. And the theories became a delicious reality.
One cooking pan is all you need. Start by cooking the chicken with the spices then add the berries.
Pour in wine and the let chicken and berries cook in it.
Add the almonds last.
And then enjoy.
- 4 to 6 chicken thigh fillets about 250 g. (remove the skin if you want to; I didn’t)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon ginger chopped or finely sliced
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3/4 to 1 cup mixed dried berries (please don’t ask for substitutes as the dried berries are the most important ingredient in this dish next to the chicken)
- 12 to 15 pearl onions (shallots can be substituted), peeled
- 3/4 cup good white wine (any white wine you’d care to drink would be good)
- 1/4 ccup sliced almonds toasted in an oil-free pan
- chopped parsley for garnish
Cut the chicken fillets into bite-size pieces.
Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan.
Add the chicken to the hot oil and cook, stirring often, until most of the pinkness have disappeared.
Add the ginger and chili flakes. Season with fish sauce. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about two minutes.
Add the dried berries and pearl onions. Stir.
Pour in the white wine. Allow to boil, uncovered, for about three minutes.
Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is done and the sauce has reduced and thickened.
Taste the sauce. Add more fish sauce if needed.
Turn off the heat. Add the almonds and toss a couple of times.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve the braised chicken and berries with hot rice.