This dish just sings of Christmas. The pomegranate arils sprinkled on the glazed chicken look like dark red berries and the parsley garnish resemble holly leaves. Subtly sweet, slightly tart pomegranate juice with just a touch of fruitiness compliment the smoky garnet-colored glaze on the chicken and the arils add a nice touch of crunchiness.
Speaking of pomegranate arils (seeds) – I think of them as pesky little things that are very difficult to remove from pomegranates and are messy to boot. If you know me well, you know that I do not like messy. To solve the problem, I’ve been buying the arils in a little jar at the supermarket. But now my friend Chris at The Café Sucre Farine has come up with an amazing super easy, step-by-step method of removing pomegranate seeds in less than a minute, no fuss, and no water that you must try, link here. Problem with pomegranate seeds solved.
Believe it or not, the chicken was grilled indoors on a stove-top grill. Just imagine the smoky flavor and grill marks you would get if you did it outdoors on a charcoal or gas grill. We do what I call “faux-grill” on the stovetop on a grill pan from All Clad, commonly known in our house as “Giada’s grill pan,” because it’s similar to the one she uses on her cooking show. It does a very nice job if you don’t have an outdoor grill.
If you plan to grill this recipe outside on a charcoal or gas grill, I recommend that you use a whole chicken, cut into parts, in place of the breasts. The original recipe called for a whole cut-up chicken and I’ve included the instructions in the recipe below. If you are as big a sauce lover as we are, I would probably double it if I was preparing a whole cut-up chicken instead of four breasts. If there’s too much sauce, you don’t have to use it all. More often than not we say, “I wish we had more sauce.”
This is a beautiful dish and is perfect for holiday entertaining.
Pomegranate Glazed Chicken
Adapted from Rick Rodger’s New Flavors for Chicken for Williams Sonoma, serves 4
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large shallot, peeled & minced
¾ cup bottled pomegranate juice
¾ cup hearty red wine
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 1 ½ pounds (instructions for whole cut-up chicken below)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil for grilling
1/3 cup fresh pomegranate arils (seeds)
Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves for garnish
In a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté until they are softened, taking care not to burn the garlic, for about 2 minutes. Stir in the pomegranate juice, wine, and sugar, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to half, about 10 minutes. When the pomegranate sauce has reduced, in a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and cold water. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the pomegranate sauce and cook just until thickened, about 10 seconds. Transfer the sauce to a small bowl and let cool.
Trim away any excess fat from the chicken breasts, then brush them with the olive oil. In a small bowl stir together the oregano, cumin, 2 teaspoons of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Season the chicken with the oregano mixture and let stand at room temperature while the grill heats.
If you are using a stovetop grill, heat to medium high. If you are cooking the chicken on a charcoal or gas grill, follow the instructions below for grilling. Grill the chicken, turning occasionally. Just before the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees, baste both sides of the chicken and continue to turn until the internal temperature is 165 degrees and the chicken is nicely glazed. Transfer to a warmed platter, drizzle with any remaining sauce, sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the chicken, garnish with the parsley, and serve right away.
Instructions for grilling a whole, cutup chicken:
Prepare the sauce as instructed above and let it cool. Cut the chicken into pieces, and brush with the olive oil and seasonings as instructed above. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for indirect-heat cooking over high heat. Replace the grill grate and brush it with canola oil. Place the chicken skin-side down, on the cool side of the grill. Cover the grill and cook the chicken for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken over and continue to cook, covered, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast meat registers 165 degrees F, about 15 minutes longer. Brush the skin side of the chicken with half of the pomegranate mixture and move, skin side down, to the hot side of the grill. Grill uncovered, turning occasionally and basting the other side with the remaining pomegranate mixture, until the chicken is glazed, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a warmed platter, drizzle with some sauce, sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the chicken, garnish with the parsley, and serve right away.
This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, and Seasonal Sunday at the Tablescaper.