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Tonight’s Dinner: Grilled chicken with a red wine cherry sauce

Cherries may no longer be in season, but a bag of frozen cherries can bring sweet flavor to your grilled chicken all year long.

Cherries are one of my favorite fruits. I’m bummed that they only seem to be around for a month or two and then they’re gone. I want Bing cherries all year long. I’ll put them in cocktails, add them to pies or even eat them plain. It doesn’t matter how I get them as long as I get them and get them often. So when they’re in season, I stock up, but once my stash disappears, the only choice I have is to buy bags of frozen cherries.

When I have fresh cherries, I make pies, tarts, bars, cookies, cakes and anything I think will be best served by using the fresh, sweet fruit. Sure, the frozen cherries are good, but they just don’t seem to hold up as well in these sweet treats. That’s when I turn to my oven. Since the frozen cherries are usually reserved for sauces, jams and proteins, it doesn’t matter to me if they’re fresh or frozen. They’re going to be cooked down and the heat will bring out the flavor as if they were plucked right off the tree. That’s why this chicken recipe from Sunset Magazine is perfect. Don’t get me wrong, fresh cherries would be my first choice, but trust me when I tell you the frozen cherries work just as well. They work even better because you don’t have to pit them. So grab a bag the next time you’re walking down the freezer aisle. You’ll be amazed at how versatile this little fruit can be.

Grilled chicken with a red Wine cherry Sauce


  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 2 cups cherries, pitted and halved
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice


  1. Preheat the grill to 500 degrees F, reserving an unheated area for indirect heat. Mix together 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the chicken. Grill the chicken over direct heat until browned, about three minutes per side. Move pieces to indirect heat area and grill, covered until cooked through, 25-30 minutes.
  2. While the chicken cooks, sauté the cherries and shallots in two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the shallots start to brown, about five minutes. Add wine, sugar and orange juice and simmer, stirring often, until sauce reduces by half; remove from heat.
  3. Transfer chicken to serving plates, ladle cherry sauce over each piece and serve.

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Brandied cherries

Cherries with ricotta and almonds

Pork chops, pears and cherries braised with beer

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