Rosemary Chicken Skewers with Berry Sauce

Please welcome guest author Garrett McCord, who grilled these chicken skewers with me the other day to rave reviews from the ‘rents. ~Elise

I’ve always been a fan of combining sweet fruits with savory spices, it sets up a certain flavor balance that just works so well. Mango with chili pepper, peaches and thyme, rhubarb and rosemary. They’re all delicious, so can there be any question that blackberries and rosemary would just be a match made in heaven?

Elise and I found the inspiration for this recipe in a tattered old cookbook; it needed a quite a bit of tweaking but we finally nailed it. The sweet sauce really makes the rosemary pop on these summer time chicken skewers. Believe me, we were sopping up this marinade with bits of watermelon, lettuce, strawberries, anything we could get our hands on.

Rosemary Chicken Skewers with Berry Sauce Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 4-6 boneless chicken thighs or breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), skin on or off
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped, fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup of dry white wine or vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

For the sauce:

  • 1 3/4 cup of fresh or frozen blackberries or boysenberries
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of red currant jelly (or berry jam or jelly)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Method

1 Cut the chicken into 1 1/2 inch pieces and place in a bowl. Mix with the wine, oil, rosemary, and pepper. Cover and set aside to marinate in the refrigerator for one hour.

2 Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Thread the chicken onto skewers and season generously with salt.

3a Grilling Preheat the grill for direct high heat. Brush the grill grates with olive oil. Place chicken skewers on grill and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Place on a platter and cover with foil to allow the chicken to rest.

3b Broiling Preheat the broiler. Place skewers on an oiled broiling pan, 5 to 6 inches away from the burner. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Place on a platter and cover with foil to allow the chicken to rest.

4To make the sauce, place the marinade and the berries in a sauce pan and simmer gently until the berries are soft. Press through a strainer and discard the pulp.

5 Return the juice and marinade mixture to the pan. Add the vinegar, jelly, and nutmeg and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered until it has reduced by about 1/3 to a light syrup-like consistency.

Plate the skewers and spoon the sauce over the chicken. Serve immediately.

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17 Comments

  1. Alanna

    You’re on a real rosemary kick these days, Elise! I’ve read that you can infuse even more rosemary flavor (although there may be plenty in your recipe) by soaking rosemary sprigs in water, then creating a ‘bed’ of the sprigs to put the meat onto while it cooks.

    Hi Alanna, this one was all Garrett’s idea (and his post), but is sure helps to have rosemary bushes growing right outside. Love the idea of soaking the sprigs and creating a bed of them, thanks! ~Elise

  2. Burk

    This sounds incredible – I’ll have to get my hands on some blackberries.

    Have you tried rosemary-infused salt? It’s super simple: just warm up some kosher salt in a sauce pan and stir in a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary. The heat releases the oils into the salt, which becomes gently perfumed. Sprinkle on potatoes, chicken, pork chops, popcorn, grilled veggies, etc, or use in rubs and marinades.

    I keep a supply in a big spice shaker, with the rosemary still inside. The salt dries out the rosemary, so it keeps indefinitely in a sealed container. (The dried rosemary does add significant kick, though – leave it out if you’re looking for a gentle flavor.)

    Burk, I am loving this idea. I’ll have to try it out! ~Garrett

  3. Linda

    You two, this recipe is incredible!!!! I saw the recipe right after getting home from the grocery store. I had the chicken, the rosemary, etc. but no blackberries. Anyway, I made this recipe for dinner; and let me tell you, there was nothing left on our plates. I ended up making the sauce with raspberries and found it needed about a tablespoon of honey to sweeten it a little bit more. Because I am squeamish about using leftover marinade, I just halved the marinade recipe, made a fresh batch and added it to the sauce. It came out fantastic. I will make this again when blackberries are here. Now, let me tell you that I did keep a skewer full of chicken to make chicken salad tomorrow. Do you have any ideas for a good base? – sour cream and mayo don’t seem to be worthy! Thanks, again, for this fabulous recipe. It was really delicious.

    Linda, I’m so glad you loved this recipe as much as we did! As for a chicken salad using these sauced bits of chicken? Personally, I would go with some fresh greens, nuts, and fruit. I agree with you, mayo or sour cream wouldn’t be worthy and might cloudy up those fruity flavors. Throw on a bit of lemon juice, oil, and vinegar and I think you’re set! ~Garrett

  4. Acher

    I love fruit with pork and chicken, but my husband is not so much on board. Unless, that is, the meat is spicy (think firey jerk chicken with mango chutney). I think that I will try this, but add some habanero to the chicken. Habanero compliments fruit chutneys so well, I can imagine that it will do the same with the berries and rosemary – and if it’s spicy, dear hubby will gladly eat fruit with his chicken!

  5. bs_h

    This sounds delicious and I’d love to try it. However, my grilling spouse’s chicken is always grilled to a dryness I cannot describe. Any suggestions to help him understand the difference between done and oh dear?

    I would check this post for that info, my grilling skills are sub par, Elise and Hank are the experts on that here. ~Garrett

  6. Frank

    Hi,

    This is a very good recipe, I also like chicken kabobs with sage seasoning. I love the quick recipes on this site. I haven’t bought raisin bread since you put the Irish soda bread recipe on your site. Man I love that stuff and it is really quick and easy.

    Thanks for all the great recipes.
    Frank W

  7. Adam S

    Gave it a shot (slightly modified) last night. By adding some orange juice and subbing red wine vinegar for the apple cider vinegar, I was able to coax some additional tanginess out of the sauce. Also, the lavender added a sweet and flowery freshness to the skewers that really made the kebobs and the sauce work well together.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/firsttubedotcom/2651592890/

    Yum!

  8. kim

    Made this last night – the sauce was fab! One caution, tho. I cut fresh rosemary from the garden, and put what the recipe recommended and it was WAY too powerful. Either I have VERY good rosemary or I’d be careful on the amount… Next time I’ll halve it to one tbsp so as not to overwhelm the flavor.

  9. Bev

    After stripping the leaves, I use the rosemary sticks as skewers. They have to be pretty long and sturdy rosemary branches. It adds great rosemary flavor to the chicken and won’t burn like bamboo skewers (no soaking required).

  10. Kayla

    I made this tonight and it was phenomenal! I was a little nervous about the fruit/meat combo but it was just perfect.

  11. SaraQ

    Wow! This recipe has so many flavors dancing around in my mouth. I love the rosemary and white wine…together with the berry sauce. Thanks so much for a great dinner.

  12. Holly

    I made these last night, and they were fabulous! I served them with baked sweet potatoes and a red cabbage salad with pancetta and goat cheese. So delicious. :)

  13. jeannine Wright

    I have used the rosemary branches (devoid of the greenery) by soaking them in water for a short time and placing the chicken, etc on the branches for skewers. yummy

  14. Kate

    I just made the chicken with no sauce. My 4 year old ate this without saying a word about the rosemary. (he usually will point out dill or any other green herb) Delicious all the way around! As always, thanks!

  15. todd

    I made this recipe tonight in the broiler and…well, it was kind of a dud. Average at best.

    The marinade doesn’t impart much flavor to the chicken, except for the rosemary which was really overpowering and bitter. I used dried rosemary, but I still think 2 tbl spoons is too much. It all sticks to the chicken during the marinade so you get this crust of broiled rosemary all over the chicken. Also, I used the amounts called for and there was only a tsp of marinade left to put in the sauce. I had to make more to add.

    I used frozen blackberries (they didn’t have much flavor, really) to make the sauce and it came out kind of bland. I had the red currant jelly and nutmeg and everything, it just didn’t come together.

    I might suggest just skipping the rosemary and going with something else. I don’t think tweaking the recipe is going to help on this one, I’m going back to chicken cardamom.

    My guess is fresh rosemary and berries would probably be the solution to your problem as you noted that neither was all that great to begin with. Great food can only be prepared with great ingredients. ~Garrett

  16. Shelly

    Wow! What a great recipe. I prepared this dish last night and was very impressed with the combination of flavors! I did add salt to the marinade(not sure why there isn’t any in the recipe). Also wandering if I could just start with pure juice instead of cooking down the berries? Not sure how much liquid I am to start with but I didn’t get very much from the berries. Overall, I was VERY pleased and can’t wait to try other recipes of yours! Kuddos!!!

    Feel free to use cooked down juice if you want though the flavor might not be as clean. Depends on the juice. ~Garrett

  17. Sally

    This recipe is delicious, easy and beautiful! I made a couple of small changes, deglazing the pan with a little vermouth and using the raspberry jam we had on hand in place of the currant. It was wonderful. Your blog is amazing. Thanks, Elise!

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