Sunday, 6 February 2011

Pomegranate and Chicken Stew

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.


  1. This pomegranate and chicken stew is the bomb, Michael! The pomegranate flavor seems to infiltrate the whole dish, with the molasses, juice and seeds in it. I'm just wondering, do you eat all these lovely food by yourself or do you always have someone come round for dinner? If so, I'm moving next door to you!

    Btw, please do join us in next month's Bread Pudding Club. We'd really love to have you represent the British version of bread and butter pudding!

  2. this is indeed a refreshing dish, sounds like it is full of interesting flavors and lovely comforts

  3. nice dish! you know how much i love my chicken thighs so this is one for the list and those pommegranet seeds just make it look so stunning!... they have a subtle taste tho, so how did they taste with the chicken?

  4. I love chicken thighs and am always looking for chicken stew recipes. What could be healthier than pomegranate for a healty refreshing spin.

  5. What a unique and great dish, I hope you day is good too

  6. I wanted to pass along to you the Stylish Blogger Award. Pick it up over at my blog. (if you want)Just want you to how much I like your blog!

  7. Hey Michael,
    "...still and cooking my way through the list of recipes in my 'to-cook' folder."
    You have this too!
    Hahaha, it's a requirement of a great cook.

    Hey the chicken sounds great with the mediterranean touch. I'd probably add cumin (cos I love cumin) and more chilies (cos I'm Indonesian) ;}

  8. Yum! I would like some right now! I LOVE pomegranate molasses!

  9. I would love all the garlic in this dish along with some red chili. The pom seeds make it all the more inviting. Lovely dish!

  10. Don't think I've seen these ingredients together but I love the sound of it & the look of it, must keep my eye out for pomegranates.... this goes into the 'must cook' folder :)

  11. Thanks for following my blog - glad you like it! Yours looks great too.

    I am loving the look of this dish. Perfect for a windy day. I often have pomegranate in a fruit salad but always painstakingly scoop the seeds out with a teaspoon. Will try your whacking method next time!

  12. I love pomegranate...I bet this tasted amazing!

  13. Tons of garlic! Love that. Plus pomegrante juice, molasses and arils (which pop so delightfully in your mouth). Great combo for a stew, Michael.

  14. I love the play of garlic against the flavor of pomegranates. The melded flavors here have to be amazing. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  15. Michael, what a lovely chicken dish, love the idea of pomegranate juice in it...not only tasty but beautiful color :-)

  16. What an interesting recipe and I love all the garlic...Beautiful looking dish :)

  17. Oh this looks good! Last time I seeded a pomegranate The Hubble told me I looked like I had murdered my hands. LOL!