Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cooking with pomegranate juice (with pictures!)

Pomegranate Juice 6 X 16 Ounce CaseAn embarrassingly long time ago, I was contacted by the POM blogger to see if I'd like to try cooking with pomegranate juice.  I said "Sure!" because I love the stuff, but for months, the closest to using these in a recipe I got was to mix up a batch of POMtinis  for my sister's bachelorette party. My sister is a bartender, so I was a little intimidated by the idea of mixing drinks for her and her friends, but they loved these.  To make a pitcher, just substitute "cup" for "ounce" in the recipe.  Then you have enough for 8 drinks (or less, if you have big glasses).

Some of the other little bottles in my case just became post-run recovery drinks or got mixed with seltzer when I wanted something bubbly. Finally, I was down to two little bottles and decided I'd better cook something before they were all gone.

There are a whole bunch of recipes on the POM Wonderful site, but I just did a search for "pomegranate juice" and "chicken" and found a great one for Chicken in Pomegranate Juice (I did not try the penne pasta variation and don't think I would like it).  I did my best to document the recipe steps with photos. I ended up making a few minor changes.

The original recipe called for chicken thighs, but I had four mixed pieces so I decided to just be careful and use a probe thermometer to check the temperature on the breast pieces.  Other ingredients: Olive oil, onion, salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, and of course, pomegranate juice.  The recipe called for 2 cups, and I thought that sounded like a lot so I only used one at first.

As directed, I heated the olive oil in the pan first, then seasoned the chicken on both sides with the salt, pepper, and cumin and then put it in the pan to brown.

While it was browning I roughly chopped the onion (no fancy knifework required) and set it aside for later.  I made sure to brown the chicken nicely on all sides.  The recipe suggested moving the chicken to a plate and then covering it with foil, but I thought it would be easier to just put it in a covered roasting pan.  It was easier to work with a lid than mess around with foil when I was holding hot chicken.

Then I poured off all but about a teaspoon of the oil and chicken fat in the pan (I left the skin on to cook, though I removed it when I was eating the chicken) and added the onions and garlic.  The recipe said to cook them until they were translucent, but they didn't seem to want to get that way.

Once they were soft I added the pomegranate juice.

Then I also added the chicken back to the pan and covered.  The recipe said to cook on low for 10 minutes or until the juices ran clear.  I turned the pieces over at the 5 minute mark and set the timer for another 5 minutes.

I tested the temperature and the chicken wasn't done yet, so that roasting pan came in handy. I put the chicken into it, lidded it up, then put it into a 350 degree oven while I worked on the pomegranate sauce.  It had turned a sort of brownish color so I added in the second 8-ounce bottle of juice to give it more color and flavor. It took quite a while to reduce the sauce by half, so the chicken had plenty of time to finish in the oven.

The final product was pretty and the sauce tasted very good spooned over the chicken. It reminded me a little bit of barbecue sauce, which wasn't what I was expecting but was tasty. We had the chicken with some sweet corn and a salad.  I love crisp chicken skin, but this recipe did not make the skin crisp, so I took it off my chicken and dipping the meat in the sauce.

I would definitely make this recipe again, though I'm not sure I would do it in the summer. It got hot standing there and stirring the sauce so it wouldn't burn, and since I had to turn the oven on, the whole kitchen heated up.  I wondered if I might be able to make something similar by browning the chicken and then putting it in the crockpot with the rest of the ingredients. 

2 comments:

  1. My mouth is watering...looks yummy!

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  2. This sounds yummy - thanks for the pics and for your observations/changes as you went. I'm sure you could do this in the crockpot. I use it for as much as possible :)

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