I made this with mulberries, one time when I came back from my favorite local farm with a container full of fresh-picked gentle sweet mulberries. Never knew they grew on a tree! I always assumed, like blackberries and dewberries, I’d have have to wiggle my way around the thorny bushes to pick the nice ripe ones. For mulberries, the farmer told me, you put sheets all around the tree and then shake it. To be honest, I got my container full the easy way: the low-hanging fruit ;-).
Mulberries are not that easy to find. But blackberries are! The method is the same, and actually, so is the final taste. And they’re just as pretty to use as garnish, although elegantly long and reddish mulberries are as pretty as they come.
Moral of the recipe: use berries you have for this summery braised chicken!
- 1 whole pasture-raised chicken
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 large red onion, cut in half and sliced thin
- 1 bay leaf
- about 10 small sprigs of fresh lemon thyme (or any thyme)
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup fresh blackberries
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ tablespoon raw local honey (optional)
- fresh parsley and a handful fresh berries to garnish
Preheat the oven to 375°
Portion the chicken into thighs, drums, breasts and wings. Keep the backbone for stock!
Season the chicken on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in your Dutch oven and brown the chicken over medium heat, a couple pieces at a time. Take out the browned pieces and keep them in a tray.
In the same pan, cook the onion until soft. Add the garlic and pour in the balsamic and cook for 1-2 minutes, scraping any bits from the bottom. Add bay leaf, lemon thyme, chicken stock and dewberries and bring to a boil. Add the chicken pieces back in. Stir gently to mix. Cover the pan with the lid, place in the preheated oven and cook for 30-45 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked.
Take the chicken pieces out (keep on the side) and return the pot with the braising liquid to the stove. Over medium-high heat, reduce the liquid until it thickens somewhat (about ¾ of the original amount). Add the honey (optional). Season to taste, put the chicken back in. Garnish with fresh herbs and berries and serve!
Serve this with crusty Tuscan bread and a seasonal salad! Polenta or creamy mashed potatoes work too, of course.