Happiness is… Chicken roasted in a flavor bursting, tangy, and sweet pomegranate juice reduction with sumac, caramelized onions, and herbs. This dish is close to my heart in so many ways, and full of the flavors of love, sharing, and ultimately, home. I have incorporated various of my favorite traditional Levantine flavors with a modern, tangy, and time-saving twist in this recipe. Vibrant sumac, sweet and tart pomegranate, and herbs cooked with succulent chicken in less than an hour. Yes, that’s my kind of language.
It’s savory, tangy, lemony, juicy, healthy, and loaded with natural antioxidants provided by the fresh pomegranate juice. And it simply feels good to eat it. I like to serve this with grains such as a creamy freekeh for the perfect balance of flavors, but it’s also amazing with a vibrant salad.
INGREDIENTS/ SERVES 4
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds), cut into 8 pieces*
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup (235 ml.) pomegranate juice (juice of about 1 1/2 pomegranates)
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sumac spice
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses, optional
good grinding freshly ground black pepper
salt to your taste
pomegranate seeds, for garnish
fresh parsley, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 190 C (375 F).
2. Heat a large skillet over high-heat and then add 2 tablespoon of olive oil and chicken pieces. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until richly golden in color. Remove the chicken and set aside.
3. Arrange the onion, garlic, and thyme in a medium-large roasting dish. Then place the chicken pieces over the top along with its oil and juices. Mix together the pomegranate juice, lemon juice, tomato paste, sumac, and pomegranate molasses until well combined and pour over the chicken and herbs. Season with salt and pepper, and leave to roast for 45-60 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces) or until the chicken has a rich golden color. Using a spoon, baste the chicken by pouring the juices in the dish over the chicken to keep it moist. You can do this a few times while the the chicken is roasting.
4. Serves well with creamy and soft flavors, such as freekeh, rice, and pasta. Garnish with fresh parsley and sumac. Enjoy!
* Use a whole chicken or your preferred combination of parts. Make sure to pat the chicken dry if there are any excess liquids. This will make the pieces easier to brown.