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Pomegranate Chicken with Warm Kisir

Serves 4.


    Mediterranean dishes are known for their amazing heart-health qualities with their healthy oils and bright-coloured vegetables. This dish is no exception with its inclusion of pomegranates. When in season, pomegranates are widely available. Typically, kisir, a traditional Turkish side dish, is made with bulgur. We’ve adapted it using millet, a healthy gluten-free alternative.


    Wine pairing

    Wines are always personal. No one has the same taste buds. While some might lean toward whites, others glom onto reds. This dish deserves something light and fruity—either red or white. So look for a Gamay or a Rosé. Even a Pinot Grigio works well with this dish.


    Pomegranate molasses or syrup can be found in specialty food shops or Middle Eastern grocery stores. To make your own, boil pomegranate juice until thickened. Refrigerate for up to 1 month. Use tablespoonfuls to flavour a myriad of dishes.


    Pomegranate Chicken with Warm Kisir


    • 2 tsp (10 mL) sumac powder
    • 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cardamom
    • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) sea salt
    • 4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
    • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) ghee or unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chicken stock
    • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) pomegranate molasses or syrup (see Tip)
    • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) maple syrup
    • 2 thyme sprigs, plus extra for garnish
    • Generous pinch of crushed dried red chilies
    • 1 cup (250 mL) jasmine rice or dry millet
    • 2 cups (500 mL) boiling water
    • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) pomegranate molasses or syrup (see Tip)
    • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) tomato paste
    • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) sea salt
    • 14 oz (398 mL) can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes
    • 1 small unpeeled cucumber, finely diced
    • 1 banana pepper or 1/2 yellow pepper, seeded and diced
    • 1/2 cup (125 mL) pomegranate seeds
    • 1/4 cup (60 mL) sliced raw almonds, toasted
    • 1/3 cup (80 mL) each of chopped parsley and fresh mint
    • Freshly ground black pepper


    Per serving:

    • calories521
    • protein25g
    • fat20g
      • saturated fat5g
      • trans fat2g
    • carbohydrates63g
      • sugars13g
      • fibre9g
    • sodium440mg



    To make chicken, preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).


    In small bowl, combine sumac, cardamom, and salt. Stir to blend. Divide equally among chicken thighs, massaging seasoning under skin with your fingers.


    Heat 10 in (25 cm) ovenproof or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add ghee or butter and heat till it almost begins to smoke. Add chicken thighs, skin side down, allowing for space in between each. Fry until skin becomes a rich golden colour, about 5 minutes. Flip chicken and sear underside just until lightly browned. Remove to dish.


    Whisk stock, pomegranate molasses, and maple syrup in skillet. Boil vigorously, with lid ajar, until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Return chicken to skillet along with any juices that may have collected. Tuck thyme sprigs around chicken and sprinkle with red chilies.


    Bake, uncovered, in oven for 35 minutes or until meat registers 165 F (75 C) when tested with a meat thermometer in thickest portion of meat. Remove from oven when done.


    Meanwhile, in dry saucepan over medium heat, toast rice or millet just until grains are pale golden and they begin to smell aromatic, about 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in boiling water and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat; keep covered and allow to rest for 10 minutes.


    While rice or millet cooks, whisk oil, pomegranate molasses, tomato paste, and salt in small bowl. Set aside. Combine tomatoes and their juice, cucumber, and yellow pepper in large bowl and set aside.


    When rice or millet is cooked and has finished resting, stir in oil mixture to evenly coat. Transfer to bowl with tomatoes and gently fold in.


    To serve, place a generous ladle of kisir into each of 4 serving bowls. Rest a chicken thigh on top. Drizzle with some pan juices and scatter with pomegranate seeds, toasted almonds, and chopped herbs. Add black pepper to taste.


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