Though pomegranates have become popular of late for their healthy antioxidants, Jewish cooks have been using them for years – drawn not only to their tart flavor but also to the symbolism associated with this unusual fruit.
In Jewish tradition, pomegranates symbolize righteousness because they are believed to contain 613 seeds, the exact number of commandments in the Torah. They’re also associated with fruitfulness and wisdom, and it is customary to eat pomegranates on Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year, which begins at sundown this coming Sunday).
Honey is also a traditional Rosh Hashanah food, and it is customary to wish others a “sweet new year.” So this pomegranate and honey dish is a perfect complement to the upcoming holiday.
- 1 4 lb chicken cut in 1/8ths (breasts cut in half if large)
- 4 Tbsp canola oil (separated: 2 Tbsp for simmer sauce and 2 Tbsp for browning the chicken)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup pomegranate molasses (you can find this on Amazon)
- ½ cup sweetened pomegranate juice
- ½ cup honey
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp powdered ginger
- ⅛ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp turmeric
- salt and pepper to taste
For the garnish:
- 2 Tbsp parsley
- 2 Tbsp pomegranate arils (seeds)
Heat 2 Tbsp canola oil in a large pan (you’ll need a lid for later).
Sauté chopped onion until soft and translucent. Add minced garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes (do not brown).
Add pomegranate molasses, juice, honey, broth, and spices.
Stir and bring to boil. Reduce to an active simmer, and cook uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until sauce is reduced by about ½ the volume and slightly thickened.
Taste sauce and adjust seasoning. Too tart? Add 1-2 Tbsp honey. Want more kick? Crack more black pepper.
Remove sauce from heat and pour into bowl. Set aside.
Rinse chicken parts, pat dry, season with salt and pepper.
Heat remaining 2 Tb. of oil in pan and place chicken parts skin side down. Brown on one side and flip to second side. Do not crowd chicken in the pan as this causes chicken to steam rather than brown.
Lower heat, pour prepared simmer sauce over the chicken. Cover pan and simmer on low for 35-40 minutes.
Remove from pan and platter, garnishing with chopped parsley and pomegranate arils.
Makes 4 servings.