Chicken with fresh pomegranate juice

In the making of this dish there will be some serious mess made.  It’s worth the effort because nothing quite compares to the pomegranate particular taste of sour-sweet-earthy.  I’m not sure you can replicate the same using bottle pomegranate juice as fruit juices tend to be pasteurised.

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The pomegranates should feel heavy and they are best used when not looking so perfectly tight, hard skin and shiny new, if under-ripe the seeds will not have that deep velvety red, they will instead be more translucent and pink in colour.

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The best way I have found of extracting the most juice is to put the seeds into a food processor.

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Cut the fruit into quarters and pick out all the seeds, if some of the paper-like membrane comes along that’s fine, not worrying too much about the splattering this will make.  Process the seeds for a minute or two until they have been crushed.

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Sieve and press down hard on the pulp to extract as much juice as possible.

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If only this glorious colour would last to the finished dish.

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Soften onion, add garlic, herb, spices and stir for 30seconds.  Add vegetables mix well into spices and cover.

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Sweat the vegetables for 5mins until shrunk a little.

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Add juices, salt, thighs, drumsticks, wings carcass.  Do not add the breasts.

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After 30-35mins check the drumstick is beginning to give way when pulled with a fork then add chicken breasts, if not cook for further 5mins.

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Chicken with fresh pomegranate juice
Author: 
 
Serves 4-5
Ingredients
  • 1 large chicken about 1.5kg / 3.3lbs, cut into pieces see here
  • 3-4 large pomegranates juiced, should yield 500-700ml / 2¼ - 3 cups
  • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of cubeb pepper, freshly crushed into powder *
  • 2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • freshly crushed black pepper
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 200ml / ¾ cup freshly squeeze orange juice or other; clementine, mandarin
  • 2-3 teaspoons of sugar, takes the edge off the pomegranate
  • 1½ - 2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Soften onion in the oil on low heat for 7-10 minutes until it is translucent and is a beginning to colour.
  2. Add garlic, bay leaves, spices and stir them continuously for 30seconds.
  3. Add the carrots and leek and stir well to coat them in the spices, cover the pan with tight lid and on low heat let them sweat for 5mins until they begin to soften and have shrunk a little.
  4. Add the orange and pomegranate juice, salt, chicken thighs, drumsticks, wings and carcass.
  5. Bring pan to a simmer, and with the lid on let stew cook slowly for 35 mins. Check there is enough salt for you. In this dish when adding 700ml of pomegranate juice I ended up adding 2½ teaspoon of salt in total.
  6. Check the drumsticks they should start to show signs of coming off the bone if pulled with a fork but the meat should still be on hard side of cooked , if not give it another 5mins.
  7. Add the chicken breast, they should be cut in half. Bring the stew back to the simmer and cook gently for about 8-10 mins. The thermopen should read 74˚C / 165˚F, if you don't have one cut into one of the breasts and the meat should be white all the way through to the bone.
Notes
* Cubeb pepper is very aromatic, reminiscent of allspice with a fresh breath aftertaste of rosemary, don't add to much of it, with pomegranate can make dish too astringent. If you don't want to use it replace it with ½ teaspoon ground allspice.