When the military transplanted my little family (me, husband, dog) to the South Jersey region just outside Philadelphia, PA, I expected a 2-state cultural collision involving lots of Bump-Its, Hoagies, Cheesesteaks, and something called a “Waah-waah” – which, at the time, I thought was the sound of a Dallas Cowboys fan at Lincoln Financial Field. (Joke. That’s a joke.)
Anyway, I’m a Chiefs fan. (No, that one’s not a joke.)
I quickly realized that my extended Jersey/Philly network – from the military friends to my Paleo Kit Family – were some of the greatest people I’ll ever meet. They introduced me to Phillies tailgates (although I’ll always love the Kansas City Royals), “Mummers” (which is nothing like what it sounds), the REAL “Jersey Shore,” and the greatest little convenience mart outside of Quik Trip: The “Wawa.” But the greatest thing I found in this region is the amazing local produce. There’s raw dairy farms on the PA side, farms raising pastured cows and chickens, and roadside stands with Jersey peaches, sweet corn and berries (blueberries were first cultivated in NJ).
The second peaches and blackberries come in season, I go for it. I always crave lighter fare in the summer, and while I’m not a great cook, I can put together a quick thing or two. Especially when the ingredients basically come with a suck-free guarantee. Chicken and fruit? Yep. Always good.
This recipe is a favorite – the coconut chicken is so simple yet flavorful, and while I take some liberties with the word “chutney,” I think this qualifies. Since peaches only just came in season, these early fruits are quite tart, which is a great counter-point to the sweet berries.
For the Chicken (1 serving, modify as needed):
1 Chicken breast (or other pieces, if desired)
1/2 – 1 cup unsweetened, finely shredded coconut
3-4 Tbs. Coconut Oil
For the Chutney:
1/2 cup blackberries, coarsely chopped
2 tart peaches, peeled and finely chopped
Small squeeze of lemon juice or raspberry vinegar
1 Tbs. Coconut Oil
Any remaining coconut
Dash of coriander
WHAT TO DO (Read the whole thing first, because there’s a “meanwhile”)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (you can, of course, grill the sucker, but on a 95-degree-day with 10,000% humidity I’d say opt for the oven).
Melt a few Tablespoons of coconut oil and smother chicken in it. Coat with plenty of shredded coconut.
Bake for 40 minutes.
Cook the finely chopped peaches in 1 Tbs. coconut oil over low heat until they soften slightly.
Add a squeeze of lemon juice, coarsely chopped blackberries, any remaining coconut, and a dash of coriander. Stir and remove from heat.
Top chicken breast with chutney and enjoy! (Also delicious over field greens or spinach)