I am keeping my New Year's Resolution still and cooking my way through the list of recipes in my 'to-cook' folder.
I went to the market yesterday during my lunch break to pick up some fruits and I saw a big basket of pomegranates on sale. I love pomegranates and this is the absolute prime time to enjoy this round, leathery-skinned orbs filled with hundreds of beautiful, glistening ruby-red seeds.
Pomegranates are delicious, but it can be a bit fiddly seeding them. I use the 'whacking' technique which I think is the best and most importantly, fun. Simply cut the pomegranates into halves and hold the cut side over a bowl or directly to the serving platter and give the skin side several good whacks with a wooden spoon and the seeds will just fall out. I suggest you're not wearing white though because the juices will splatter.
This pomegranate and chicken stew recipe is created by the editor of Jamie Magazine, Andy Harris and I am so glad I've tried this stew. Just reading the word stew to be honest, I feel somewhat comforted already and this stew is no exception. The stew is light and fresh, pleasantly balanced with the acidity of the tomato and pomegranate molasses and a nice kick of red chilli and smoked paprika.
I served the stew over nutty brown rice dressed with coriander and sprinkling of pomegranate seeds. People say you serve white wine with white meat, but I think red wine like Cotes du Rhone will compliment the stew nicely; or even better, make your favourite pomegranate cocktails (mine is a simple mixture of two parts of pomegranate juice and ginger ale/beer, and one part peach schnapps).
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Pomegranate and Chicken Stew
Recipe by Andy Harris
Serves 4 - 6
1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 chicken jointed (I used chicken thighs only as they're my favourite)
1 teaspoon paprika
2 onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely sliced
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander, plus extra for the rice
300 ml tomato passata
4 tablespoons pomegranate molasses*
200 ml pomegranate juice
Boiled rice and pomegranate seeds, to serve
Heat the oil in a casserole over a medium heat. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and paprika, then brown in the hot oil for 7 - 8 minutes. Remove the pieces to a plate and set aside.
In the same pan, add another splash of oil with the onions. Stir well, being sure to catch the sticky bits at the bottom of the pan. Cook slowly for 15 minutes, till onions are soft, adding the garlic, chilli and coriander in the last 5 minutes. Stir in the passata, molasses and pomegranate juice, season well, the bring to the boil.
Return the chicken with any juices to the pan, cover and lower heat. Simmer for 30 minutes, until the sauce has thickened, checking often that it's not sticking. Toss the rice with the extra coriander, the place the chicken on top and scatter with pomegranate seeds.
*Pomegranate molasses is a thick, dark deliciously tangy syrup, widely used in Lebanese and Middle Eastern cooking and is great in both sweet and savoury dishes. You can buy it in large supermarkets or speciality shops, but to make your own, simply simmer pomegranate juice (from a bottle is fine) until syrupy, then transfer to a sterilised jar and keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.