Before you turn away from this post and say, why would I make a barbecue sauce with blueberries? Aren’t they too sweet? Isn’t blue the wrong colour for barbecue sauce? And my favourite complaint from my husband, I don’t like fruit sauces on my dinner. Well, finding this recipe, Blueberry BBQ Chicken, intrigued me for two reasons: 1. I had an abundance of blueberries and was looking for some different way to prepare them, and 2. I take it as a challenge to make my husband try something new.
I was inspired to create a more Canadian version as my contribution to Canada’s 150th anniversary: blueberries from British Columbia, apple cider vinegar from Ontario apples, and maple syrup from Quebec. at least 3 provinces are being represented today. And instead of chicken in the original recipe, I tried out my new sauce on Atlantic salmon for one meal, and Pacific salmon for another. From sea to sea!
So my beautiful, fresh blueberries and spice blend of cinnamon, bay leaf, chili pepper flakes and coarse sea salt are the stars of the show.
And with the addition of sweet local maple syrup and tangy apple cider vinegar, we are ready to roll.
Place the blueberries, maple syrup and vinegar into a pot. I inserted a hand blender and chopped up the blueberries to speed up the blending process.
Add the spices and bring to a boil. Then lower to a simmer and cook for about an hour.
I removed the cinnamon sticks and bay leaf, and re-blended carefully (this is hot stuff) until totally smooth. If you don’t have a hand blender, cool the sauce and pour into a blender, purée and pour back into the pot with the spices.
Bring to a boil again and then lower to a simmer and cook down until it is syrup-y thick and has reduced immensely. Stir often to prevent burning to the bottom of the pot. Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. I ended up with 1 1/3 cups of thick sauce out from the amount of these ingredients.
Nice thick consistency. Nice colour. Delicious flavour. Sweet and tangy, with a touch of heat from the chili peppers. Have already tried it twice: once on farmed Atlantic salmon and a second time on wild Pacific salmon. I basted some sauce on the fillets, baked or barbecued and warmed the sauce to pour on top. My husband is won over. Another challenge successfully concluded.
Canadian Blueberry BBQ Sauce
3 cups fresh (or frozen) blueberries
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups maple syrup
1 tsp. salt
one cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp chili flakes (or more if you want spicier)
- Place the blueberries, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup in a pot. Use a potato masher to break up the berries a little or slightly purée with a hand blender. Add the rest of the ingredients.
- Bring to a boil and then lower to simmer over medium heat for an hour, stirring occasionally to avoid burning to the bottom of the pot.
- After the hour, remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf and insert a hand blender and purée until smooth (Alternatively, cool and pour into a blender, purée and return to cooking pot). Add the cinnamon and bay leaf and bring the heat back to a simmer over medium heat and cook until reduced to a sticky thick consistency, like maple syrup. Toss out the bay leaf and cinnamon stick. You should end up with about 1 to 1 ½ cups of sauce.
- Pour into a container and store in the fridge. Use on fish fillets, chicken or tofu.