blackened chicken with salsa and rice and beans

Blackened Chicken with Blueberry Salsa

If you go to Maine, you must eat blueberries. This is not optional. I have really enjoyed eating a lot of fruit since I started the Paleo diet, but nothing compares to the blueberries of Maine. We hiked in several different spots in Acadia National Park and everywhere we looked the blueberries appeared. I learned there are basically low bush and high bush berries, the latter of which grow in sun exposed areas on Arkansas slopes. Most of what we saw were low bush berries. So much blue inspired me to make a dish that had a blueberry salsa.

blackened chicken with blueberry salsa

As you can tell from recent blog posts, I have really gotten into this fruit salsa thing, Now that I am transitioning to Paleo recipes, I have realized how great fruit can be with meals. This blackened chicken is super easy and fast. I just threw my blackening spice mix on it and sautéed it in some coconut oil. Growing berries is challenging in our unpredictable northwest Arkansas climate so I have relied on the bounty of Whole Foods and Ozark Natural Foods grocery stores to provide for my fruit needs. Perhaps I will have my own blueberry patch someday.

You may notice that the rice in this dish is yellow. I have been adding some turmeric to my rice to give it that vivid color as well as the health benefits imparted by this magic spice.

blackened chicken pinterest from top

The trick with blackened chicken or chicken of any kind, is to keep it moist. It’s important to cook it at a medium high heat just until it is done on both sides. Internal temperature should be around 165 degrees. I have recently found it soooo much easier to use a meat thermometer when cooking chicken, beef and pork. This keeps you from having to cut open your meat to see if it is cooked inside, which can let moisture escape.

I also recently incorporated a neat trick with cooking rice. I simmer it in the pot for about 15 minutes until there is just a little bit of water left in the bottom of the pot. Then, I turn the heat off and cover it well to allow that last bit of moisture to seep into the rice. This keeps it moist and prevents it from clumping together. I owe this knowledge to my friend Farhan and his mother’s extraordinary cooking skills.

blackened chicken in bits with blueberry salsa

blackened chicken up close

PREP TIME: 10 minutes     COOK TIME: 10 minutes     SERVINGS: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 lbs. chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp. chipotle chili powder (or regular chili powder)
  • 1 tbsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder

For the salsa: 

  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced small
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp chopped cilantro

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat coconut oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Mix all spices together in a small bowl then sprinkle them evenly over the chicken breasts.
  2. Cook chicken in pan for about 5-6 minutes per side until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove from heat.
  3. Mix all salsa ingredients in a large bowl. Serve chicken with your favorite rice dish and a generous amount of blueberry salsa.

 

 

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