I love this recipe for pomegranate chicken. It’s simple enough to put together as a weeknight meal and pretty enough to serve to company on the weekend. A sprinkling of dark red seeds contrast so beautifully with the bright green stems of thyme. Maybe the colors will inspire your family to be all “ooh” and “ahh” and “wow” and “thank you” when you serve it. Ok, maybe not. At the very least it may attract your pickiest eater enough to try a few bites.
The trick is to marinate the chicken the night before. This will take you less than 10 minutes. Put on a few tunes, dance around the kitchen, sprinkle a few spices about, squeeze a lemon. Boom, the marinade is done.
You could marinate the day you’re going to serve it (for a minimum of two hours) and it will taste just as delicious. However, I say this with love: marinate the night before. Because you may forget this step. You may come home after a long day ready to cook up a quick and healthy Pomegranate Chicken recipe in 30 minutes. You’ll read that you need to marinate the chicken for at least two hours which means not eating until 9pm. Which means you may be tempted to order a pizza. I don’t want this for you. Marinate the night before.
4 servings, 30 minutes to prep and prepare not including marinating time.
Side suggestions: Roasted Cumin Carrots, Saffron Rice, Big Green Salad
4 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless (organic preferred)
Note: you could use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. And you would be right, they are a bit more flavorful than boneless and skinless. However they take longer to cook. And on a busy weeknight I’m all about easy, quick, and flavorful. If you use them cook for an additional 15 minutes.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
a few grinds of ground pepper
Juice of one lemon
1 TBSP pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (you can buy seeds separately or seed a pomegranate yourself)
a few stems of thyme (optional)
The night before or at least 2 hours before you are ready to cook, marinate the chicken. Lay the chicken thighs flat in a glass container with matching lid. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Then sprinkle with the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cumin. Add the juice of one big lemon and the olive oil. Put the lid on, and shake, shake, shake until the coating is distributed on the chicken evenly. Place chicken in fridge until you are ready to cook.
Note: If you want to be a bit fancier you could put the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil into a jar and shake until evenly mixed. Then pour this over the chicken. My intent with the first method was to save you from needing to wash more dishes.
Set the oven to 400 degrees. When you are ready to cook put a big sauté pan over medium heat. (See notes below about the cast iron pan I recommend). When hot, add the chicken with all the marinade and brown for about 3 minutes per side. (You’ll know the chicken is ready to turn over when it no longer sticks to the pan). If using, add three to four branches of thyme on top then pop the pan into the oven to cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Take the chicken out of the oven, place it back on top of the stovetop (no heat) and let it rest inside the pan for a few minutes. While it rests, drizzle ever so slightly with some pomegranate molasses. (See note below about the brand I use.) The pomegranate molasses contains sugar so use only a very small amount but it will add the perfect sweet/acidic flavor to the chicken.
Place the chicken onto a serving plate. Top with the fresh pomegranate seeds and a small drizzle of chicken fat you have left over from the pan.
With love from my kitchen to yours,
Lodge L8SK3 Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Skillet, 10.25-inch
Sadaf Pomegranate Molasses (also found at Whole Foods)