Saturday, June 25, 2011

Chicken with pomegranate dressing

For Cath, who shared the original recipe.


This has been sitting on a shelf in the living room since it was handed to me in summer - and is intended as a summer recipe, cooked on a barbeque hotplate.  It is neither summery nor barbeque weather, so I modified this to make an oven casserole, and it is outstanding.  Thanks, Cath!

Pomegranates are in season in the Southern hemisphere from March until May - but we are still seeing them in the markets as they refrigerate well.  Grab one, and try this immediately!


To get the beautiful 'jewels' from a pomegranate, score the skin and tear it apart with your fingers.  Either whack the hard outer skin with a wooden spoon to get the jewels to pop out, or gently tease them out with your fingers.
Be warned: the juice stains, so try not to drop these on the carpet, and don't wear white in the kitchen.

To make the marinade for the chicken, mix the following in a small bowl:
2-3 tsp ground cardamom
about 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard


Add the zest and juice of one orange (or a few mandarins work well too)



This is sufficient for up to 2kg of chicken pieces, or 2 butterflied whole chickens (for the barbeque).  Throw it all in a big zip-lock bag, with the chicken, and pop it in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
I've used chicken maryland (whole leg/quarter chicken), allowing a generous one per person, and cut slices into the flesh to let the flavour in.


You could bake this on its own, or on the barbeque, but I felt like rice.  To make saffron rice:
Gently toast a pinch of saffron threads in a small (dry) pan.  Crush to a powder.
Add to a large casserole dish with 1 cup of basmati rice, and 2 cups of chicken stock.

I seared the chicken in a hot frypan, and added straight to the casserole dish, on top of the rice.
Cover, and cook for 1 hour at 180C.  The rice will swell up around the chicken, and the steam will keep the chicken beautifully moist and tender.


While the chicken is cooking, make the dressing.  This is best if it sits for a few minutes - I made it straight after the chicken went in the oven so I didn't forget!

Mix the following in a small bowl:
seeds from 1 pomegranate
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
1/2 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed or finely sliced
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 large ripe tomato, finely chopped (preferably vine ripened.  you want rich flavour)

Serve with the dressing drizzled over the top.



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