What is it about pomegranates that just make a meal look so enticing? I think it's because pomegranates = sophistication.
They're the culinary fruit equivalent of diamonds. I've been a bit obsessed with them recently - even adding them to my hot smoothies.
My bottle of pomegranate molasses however, has - until now - sat in the cupboard, unopened, for about 2 years. I always meant to use it, along with the ras el hanout, the dusty jar of artichokes and that packet of strawberry Angel Delight (every adult in the UK ate this mousse-made-from-milk-and-powder throughout their childhood).
I was experimenting with some freezer friendly recipes outside of your normal soups, chili and lasagne and I hit upon this: A tender chicken stew made with ground nuts, stock and molasses. You can make it ahead and freeze it. Then simply defrost, re-heat and top with chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds to get a bright looking, fresh tasting meal that feels like you've just whipped it up.
It's got a sweet-yet-tangy taste to it with just a couple of spices in there - meaning it's mild enough for children and adults alike.
It looks like a recipe you've slaved over, but it only takes about 10 minutes prep and 30 minutes to cook. I've modified this Persian Chicken recipe slightly from the original Iranian recipe, adding some garlic, a little lime zest, and also using a combination of ground walnuts and almonds, rather than just walnuts alone.
This recipe first appeared on Or So She Says
The Persian Chicken Recipe:
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 medium brown onion - peeled and diced
- 3 chicken breasts - diced
- 1 cup walnuts
- 2 cloves garlic - peeled and minced
- 1/4 cup ground almonds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp salt
- pinch of ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- zest of half a lime
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses - **
- Seeds from half of a fresh pomegranate
- Small bunch flat-leaf parsley - roughly chopped
- Melt the butter in a large frying pan/skillet and add the onions. Fry for 2 minutes and then add the chicken. Cook for 5 minutes, until sealed, stirring occasionally.
- Whilst the chicken is cooking, place the walnuts in a food processer and blend just until they turn to fine crumbs. Don't over-blend or you'll end up with walnut paste.
- Add the walnuts, garlic and ground almonds to the pan and cook with the chicken for 1 minute. Add in the turmeric, salt, pepper, cinnamon and lime zest, stir and cook for a further minute.
- Add the chicken stock, honey and three-quarters of the molasses. Stir, bring to a gentle bubble and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Taste the stew, add more molasses if needed. Cook for a further 5 minutes and then serve on top of boiled rice or cous cous.
- Top with pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley.
I believe in the US, you’d be able to get hold of it at any Middle Eastern or Kosher store. Amazon sells it, and I think you may find it at Walmart. It’s sometimes called pomegranate syrup.
Alternatively there are a couple of ways you can make it at home (sourced from UKTV.co.uk):
1. Squeeze the juice from a large pomegranate then boil the liquid until it has reduced to just two tablespoons.
2. Take 750ml pomegranate juice, 100g sugar and 125ml lemon juice and simmer until reduced to 250ml. . Nutritional Information is per serving.
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