This recipe, from a recent compilation in Fine Cooking called “One Pot Meals”, went from the page to a pot in the blink of an eye. It called for all kinds of goodies that I love: chicken, root veggies, pomegranate and the perfect spices to tie them together. The glaze roasted into a sexy ruby color, and the skin of the chicken will make anyone smile. So, why is it a work in progress, you might ask? Read on….
ORANGE POMEGRANATE CHICKEN
(adapted from Fine Cooking magazine)
1 large orange, zested and juiced
1 cup pomegranate juice
1-1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
Freshly ground black pepper
6 tsp. olive oil
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium parsnips, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 leeks, white part only, cut in 1/4 inch slices
4-lb. chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Heat the oven to 400°F.
In a medium saucepan, Combine the orange juice and pomegranate juice in a saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce it to 1/4 cup (about 20 minutes). Add half of the thyme (eye balling is fine), all the cinnamon, and black pepper (about 1/4 tsp or according to your taste). Divide the mixture between two small bowls. To one bowl add 2 tsp. of the oil and 1/2 tsp. salt. To the other add the chicken broth, all but 1 tsp. of the orange zest, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
Scatter the sweet potatoes, parsnips, and leeks over the bottom of a dish that measures about 10 x 15 x 2 inches. Toss with the remaining 4 tsp. of oil and the rest of the thyme. Arrange the chicken pieces, skin side up, on top of the vegetables and brush with all of the juice-oil mixture. Roast for 30 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the temperature to 375°F. Pour the reduced pomegranate-chicken broth mixture around the chicken pieces and scatter the walnuts around them. Return the pan to the oven and roast until the vegetables are tender and an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F in several pieces of chicken, 20 to 30 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Remove the veggies and walnuts with a slotted spoon, season them lightly with salt, sprinkle the remaining orange zest all over the meat and veggies. Pour the liquid from the roasting pan in a pyrex type container, remove as much fat as possible. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper and pour into a pitcher to serve with the food.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: Make sure you use pure pomegranate juice (yes, it is expensive compared to blends, but worth it in this case, because you will concentrate it quite a bit). I’d love to give this recipe two thumbs all the way up, but it had some problems. Many of the pieces of sweet potatoes and parsnips were not completely cooked: their centers were still hard. I tested some with a fork before removing from the oven, but as Murphy’s Law would have it, those were perfect… (sigh). Next time I’ll cover the dish with foil during the first 30 minutes, then pour the liquid all over it and roast it uncovered, perhaps adding a little more water if the veggies dry up during the final roasting. I suspect that with this minor change it will be a winner.
One pot meals are such life-savers for a busy cook, and this recipe, apart from reducing the pomegranate/orange juice, doesn’t require much work. Even better, the reduction could be made a couple of days in advance. With a nice loaf of bread or a green salad, dinner is ready!
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