I’ve been reading a lot about pomegranate molasses in Middle Eastern (particularly Persian) cooking and wanted to jump on the sticky, sweet band wagon. Mollasses are the by product of processing sugar cane or sugar beets into sugar and pomegranate molasses are a reduction of pomegranate juice and sugar that results in a thick, fragrant syrup. It is almost ketchup-y in consistency and richly plum in colour with incredible contrasting flavours. First you start with an initial sweet aroma and then you get hit by a punchy tart and almost sour kick. YUM.
I always eye-up the pomegranates in the supermarket, but find the price tag for one of these gems too much to handle on a regular basis. I was shocked and delighted to find that my local Sainos had pomegranate molasses in the ever-exciting ‘World Food’ aisle, and doubly happy about it’s price tag: £2.45 a bottle.
I decided to cook it with chicken drums and thighs, the high sugar content of the molasses means that it’s great for crisping up skin and locking in moisture. I marinated the chicken in the molasses and a mix of herbs that are frequently used in Middle-Eastern cooking and came up with a stew that was absoultely bursting with warming, exotic, bright flavours. I hope you enjoy making this scrumptious spring dish yourselves.
For the full recipe, please see below.
Marinade (for at least an hour. longer for fuller flavour):
- 2 chicken thighs and 4 drums
- 3 tbsps of pomegranate molasses
- 1/2 a teaspoon each of sumac, ground cumin, ground coriander, crushed chillis, black onion seeds, allspice
- Ground black pepper
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 a red, fresh chilli
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsps Vegetable Oil
- 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped and de-seeded
- A splash of white wine vinegar
- Ground Black pepper and sea salt
- Chicken stock
- Fresh coriander and parsley
- Fresh pomegranate seeds
- 1 white onion
Put all of the marinade ingredients on the chicken and rub until it is all lightly covered. Leave to marinade in a sandwich bag for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 220c. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep frying pan. Fry the chicken on a hot heat until the skin is browned. Remove and put in the oven for 10 minutes whilst the stew ingredients are prepared. In the same pan that the chicken was fried, on a low heat, saute the red onion for 5 minutes.
Add the chilli and garlic and continue to fry to 2 minutes. De-glaze with the white wine vinegar and add the tomatoes, stock and season with pepper. Bring to the boil, then leave to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and add the chicken juice into the stew and stir.
Add the chicken, the crispiest skin side up, cover with a lid and turn off the heat whilst you make the couscous. Add salt to the stew to taste and throw in the parsley and coriander, leaving some leaves to garnish. Plate up and top with pomegranate seeds and fried white onions. Serve with a hunk of bread to mop up the juice.