STYLE

Blueberries can be used in sweet desserts or to add tang to savoury dishes

07/23/2012 11:56 EDT | Updated 09/22/2012 05:12 EDT
Blueberries oozing with flavour and goodness can star in many dishes, and not just desserts. They are delightful in soups and as the main ingredient in a barbecue sauce.

Here are some recipes featuring the indigo-coloured berries.

Warm Blueberry Bisque

While many fruit soups are served chilled, this warm tangy soup is perfect for brunch or to start an elegant meal.

10 ml (2 tsp) oil

125 ml (1/2 cup) finely chopped shallots

1 l (4 cups) fresh or frozen blueberries

250 ml (1 cup) vegetable or chicken broth

2 ml (1/2 tsp) fresh ground nutmeg

2 ml (1/2 tsp) ground allspice

Salt, to taste

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) half-and-half (10 per cent) cream

250 ml (1 cup) crème fraiche or sour cream

30 ml (2 tbsp) finely chopped fresh chives

In a 4-l (4-qt) saucepan, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add shallots and cook until translucent. Add blueberries, broth, nutmeg and allspice; cook over medium heat until blueberries soften and begin to burst, 5 to 7 minutes.

Let cool slightly, add salt to taste, then blend until smooth. Press through a fine sieve; discard solids.

Return blueberry mixture to pan and whisk in half-and-half. Simmer, stirring often, for 5 to 7 minutes. Adjust seasonings as needed.

In a small bowl, mix crème fraiche and chives.

Spoon bisque into 8 soup bowls and top each with 30 ml (2 tbsp) chive crème fraiche.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: British Columbia Blueberry Council (www.bcblueberry.com)

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Blueberry Barbecue Sauce

This sauce will give an entirely new zip to ribs, chicken or pork.

15 ml (1 tbsp) vegetable oil

50 ml (1/4 cup) finely minced shallot or white onion

15 ml (1 tbsp) fresh garlic (about 3 cloves), minced

5 ml (1 tsp) salt

750 ml (3 cups) blueberries, fresh or frozen

175 ml (3/4 cup) brown sugar, packed

125 ml (1/2 cup) tomato ketchup

50 ml (1/4 cup) honey

15 ml (1 tbsp) balsamic vinegar

15 ml (1 tbsp) Worcestershire sauce

10 ml (2 tsp) pepper

5 ml (1 tsp) smoked paprika powder

2 ml (1/2 tsp) dry mustard powder

2 ml (1/2 tsp) hot chili flakes or powder

2 tbsp (30 ml) fresh lemon juice

In a large saucepan, heat vegetable oil over low heat and sauté shallot and garlic until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes.

Add all ingredients except lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then continue to simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until mixture is thickened and reduced, 50 to 60 minutes. Add lemon juice and let mixture cool.

Puree in a blender until smooth.

Makes 500 ml (2 cups).

Source: British Columbia Blueberry Council, www.bcblueberry.com.

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Blueberry Bacon Bread Pudding

Sweet and salty combine in this dish that would be ideal for a special breakfast or brunch.

15 to 20 slices bacon

1.25 l (5 cups) stale french bread cubes (6 to 8 thick slices), cut in 4-cm (1 1/2-inch) cubes

4 large eggs

3 large egg yolks

250 ml (1 cup) half-and-half (10 per cent) cream

150 ml (2/3 cup) butter, melted

75 ml (1/3 cup) maple syrup, plus extra for serving

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) blueberries, fresh or frozen

Butter a non-stick 20-cm (8-inch) square baking pan.

Cook bacon. Let cool, then cut or break into 2-cm (3/4-inch) pieces (you should have 375 ml/1 1/2 cups).

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, cream, butter and maple syrup. Soak cubed stale bread in egg mixture for 10 to 20 minutes until bread absorbs egg mixture.

Fold in bacon and blueberries. Pour mixture into buttered baking pan. Bake in a 180 C (350 F) oven for 50 to 65 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.

Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Tip: To make your own stale bread, cube fresh bread and bake in a 65 C (150 F) oven for 30 to 60 minutes until dry.

Source: British Columbia Blueberry Council, www.bcblueberry.com.

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Wild Blueberry Ice-Cream Pops

These cool treats will delight kids of all ages on a hot summer day. The mixture can also be frozen with plastic sticks in small glasses or espresso cups.

250 ml (1 cup) frozen wild blueberries

30 g (2 tbsp) milk chocolate chips

500 ml (2 cups) fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt, softened slightly

Thaw blueberries and purée. In a bowl, combine puréed blueberries, chocolate and frozen yogurt. Mix thoroughly.

Rinse 6 standard muffin cups with cold water and spoon in yogurt-blueberry mixture, dividing it evenly among cups (silicone muffin cups need not be rinsed first). Place a stick in the centre of each "muffin" and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Wild Blueberry Association of North America, www.wildblueberries.com.

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Frozen Blueberry Lime Squares

7 graham cracker squares

500 ml (2 cups) fresh blueberries

125 g (4 oz) reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

1 can (398 ml/14 oz) fat-free sweetened condensed milk

125 ml (1/2 cup) lime juice

10 ml (2 tsp) lime zest

Blueberry-Pineapple Salsa

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) fresh blueberries

250 ml (1 cup) chopped fresh pineapple

45 ml (3 tbsp) chopped fresh mint

30 ml (2 tbsp) lime juice

15 ml (1 tbsp) brown sugar

Salsa: In a bowl, toss together all ingredients. Cover and chill until serving time.

Squares: Lightly oil a 23-cm (9-inch) square pan. Cover bottom of pan with graham crackers in a single layer, breaking pieces to fit.

In a blender, puree blueberries, cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk until smooth; add lime juice and zest; blend well.

Spoon blueberry mixture onto graham crackers and spread evenly. Cover and freeze until solid, about 2 hours.

To serve, remove squares from freezer and leave at room temperature until edges soften, about 10 minutes. Cut into 9 squares; serve on dessert plates with blueberry-pineapple salsa. (Return any unused squares to the pan, cover tightly and freeze.)

Makes 9 squares.

Source: British Columbia Blueberry Council,www.bcblueberry.com.

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