Food: Don’t be chicken to jazz up poultry with fruit

Kate Lawson
The Detroit News

Chickens really have it bad. For the most part, they are mistreated in those putrid poultry farms, they are bred until their breasts resemble beach balls, we steal their eggs right out from under them and they are the (chicken) butt of stupid jokes. I mean we all know the chicken crossed the road to get as far away from us as possible.

Don’t get me wrong, I so appreciate the farmer, especially the backyard aficionados who raise their chickens lovingly and yes, grab their eggs, but then I get some of the bounty and I so love eggs. I also love chicken, but I don’t buy commercial chicken unless it’s certified humane (check out Instead, I seek out the local poultry raisers, (thank you, Otto’s and John Henry’s) at the farmers market. And the difference is, as you can imagine, remarkable. The meat is tender and juicy and if I cook it just right, something I never tire of.

Chicken is the blank slate for which you can create so many wonderful dishes. Fried chicken, for example, is one of which I will never tire, but for the purpose of this occasion, I’m talking about the boneless chicken breast — regular, no steroids, please.

This recipe can be altered so many ways that I probably won’t fix it the same way twice. I had a few mangoes on hand and some blueberries and I really love that combination, so I used them to make a compote on which a marinated, grilled chicken breast could perch. Served with some grilled asparagus (no more seasoning than salt, pepper and olive oil) I was so delighted with the result that I think I honestly clucked. If you don’t feel like grilling outdoors, use a grill pan inside or alternatively a skillet.

Any fruit would be lovely here, peaches, pineapple, apples and certainly plums. That makes this my new favorite summer meal.

Grilled Chicken with Mangos and Blueberries

Recipe from Kate Lawson

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons tablespoons olive oil

1 lemon, juiced

Handful of fresh thyme, parsley, savory, chives, etc. chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon butter

1 small, red onion, sliced (can use a sweet onion)

1 tablespoon sugar

1 mango, peeled and cubed

1 cup orange juice

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup fresh blueberries

Marinate chicken for a couple hours in 1/2 cup olive oil, lemon juice, fresh herbs such as thyme, parsley and savory, salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Remove chicken from marinade, pat dry and place in the skillet, and cook 5 to 10 minutes on each side, until no longer pink and juices run clear. Alternately, grill chicken over a medium hot fire until it tests done. Season both sides with salt, and pepper. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon butter and remaining olive oil in skillet over medium heat add onions and stir until tender, add sugar and continue cooking until they just brown. Add mango, stir for 1 minute, mix in orange juice, ginger and cinnamon, let simmer. Add blueberries. Over medium-high heat, cook and continuously stir 3 to 5 minutes, until thickened and berries pop. Spoon onto plate and place chicken breast on top to serve. Serves 4.

Per serving: 444 calories; 27 g fat (5 g saturated fat; 43 percent calories from fat); 27 g carbohydrates; 21 g sugar; 104 mg cholesterol; 338 mg sodium; 37 g protein; 3 g fiber.