Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Recipe: Grilled Chicken with Foraged Mulberry Chipotle Sauce & Daylilly Buds

As a quick disclaimer, I would like to acknowledge that the idea for this recipe didn't originate with me. I've seen mulberry chipotle sauce posts kicking around the Internet. They appear to originate here.

Though I would usually not post something I didn't come up with on my own, I wanted to put this here since I feel I really did customize it enough to change the ending flavor. The original is a BBQ recipe, and mine is more of a Middle East fusion dish. I changed the proportions, whereas the BBQ dish is very spicy, and primarily a chipotle flavor, this dish balances the sweetness with the heat, and the flavor of the berries takes the forefront. Finally, I served mine with grilled daylilly buds, to make it a more comprehensively foraged dish.

Grilled daylilly buds, white onion, and button mushrooms

As an alternative presentation, which would really push the Middle Eastern element, feel free to cube and kabob the chicken before grilling. Try to use the native American mulberry, or a pink hybrid, as the sauce will have a much more appealingly vibrant color. I used that fruit here, and the result was a fiercely magenta hue which contrasted nicely with the golden rub on the chicken.

I hope you like!

Mulberries & Daylillies might not exactly be foraged food, since in many places they are planted for either their fruit or their flowers. Still, they do grow abundantly in the wild, both naturally and as an escaped cultivar.

The abundant fruiting of the American mulberry
The native Morus rubra, the American mulberry, is what I used and recommend for this dish. It is also called the Red or Black Mulberry (though the ripe fruit isn't red, and there are multiple other species called the black mulberry). It's range is eastern & central US, mostly in the south, going north to PA and NJ. The fruit, which resembles that of blackberries, but on a tree, starts as a greenish white, then red then finally purply black when ripe.

To learn more about Morus alba, the white mulberry, check the  (Wikipedia entry here).

When eating daylillies, make sure you have an edible variety. Other varieties, hybrids, and cultivars might be toxic. Daylillies are finding their way into the gourmet world, and with good reason. The bulbs, buds and blooms are all edible. I grilled the buds here, and the young green ones tasted strongly of asparagus, but the orange, about to bloom buds had a very unique and delectable flavor. Make sure you get the buds, and not the past-bloom flowers, which contain inedible fruits.

Grilled Chicken with Mulberry Chipotle Sauce
3 large chicken breasts, about 1.5lb
2 cups of ripe mulberries, stems removed & mashed
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of sweet vinegar (raspberry, rice, or cider)
1 small chipotle chili, minced. (Should be about a tablespoon's worth)
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp powdered cumin
3 tbsp powdered turmeric
1 tbsp powdered paprika
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garlic powder

Grilled Daylilly Buds & Veggies
2 cups of daylilly buds, green & orange.
Olive oil
Kosher salt & black pepper
2 jumbo white onions, sliced
2 packages of button mushrooms (or equivalent wild mushrooms)
  1. Butterfly the chicken breasts, and pound the halves to an even thinness
  2. Place chicken breasts in a bowl or plastic bag, and add the powdered spices (not the minced garlic cloves). Shake or mix to cover.
  3. Toss the daylilly bulbs, white onion and mushrooms with the oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Place the coated chicken breasts on the grill, over medium heat, and cover.
  5. After 7 minutes, flip chicken. Add the daylillies and any other veggies to a grill basket and set on the grill.  Uncover and toss veggies occasionally.
  6. After another 7 minutes, check chicken for doneness, and continue to grill until done. When done, set aside to keep warm.
  7. In a small saucepan, mix the mashed berries, the vinegar, the minced garlic and the chipotle chili. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Serve each breast with a generous couple of spoonfuls of sauce, and the veggies on the side.
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Serves 4-6

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