Mesa Grill: Chicken with Blackberry Ancho Sauce

Mesa Grill

Serves 4

3 Ancho chillies, stems and seeds removed
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons coriander, chopped
sea salt flakes
1 cup port
1 cup red wine
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
6 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 cup blackberries (can use frozen)
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
freshly ground black pepper
1 heaped teaspoon cornflour mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water

1 cup plain flour
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
sea salt flakes
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast fillets
1/4 cup olive oil

Make the Sauce:  Put the ancho chillies into a bowl and pour boiling water over to cover. Leave for 30 minutes to soften. Drain the chillies, reserving the soaking liquid and pop them into a blender. Add the garlic, coriander, 1 teaspoon salt flakes and 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put the port and red wine into a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup. Add the ancho puree, pomegranate molasses, brown sugar, stock, and peppercorns and boil again until reduce by half.

Strain the mixture into a clean saucepan and return to the stove. Boil until reduced by half again. With all this boiling and reducing we are intensifying and concentrating the flavours of the finished sauce. Drop the blackberries into the sauce and cook for about 5 minutes, until they softened. Stir in the butter and when it has melted, add the cornflour-water mixture. Cook briefly until the sauce has thickened slightly and is glossy. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Season the chicken fillets well with salt. Put the flour in a large zip-lock bag and add the smoked paprika and cayenne pepper. Drop the chicken fillet into the bad, seal it and give it a good shake. The chicken should have an even coating of flour. Remove the chicken from the bag, shaking off any excess flour.

Heat the oil in a large ovenproof frying pan or cast iron skillet and get it really hot. Place the chicken in the pan and cook until lightly browned. Turn the chicken over and put the pan into the preheated oven. Cook for about 8  to 10 minutes until just cooked through. Rest the chicken on a board for 5 minutes.

Slice the chicken into wide slices and arrange on a serving platter. Spoon the warm sauce over.

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