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Pomegranate Chicken With Preserved Lemon and Almond Rice Pilaf

Simple ingredients brought together in a new way

With fresh pomegranate season almost over, I picked up a pomegranate and a bottle of pomegranate molasses at Dean & Deluca and made a Middle Eastern-inspired, exotic and easy chicken and rice dish — Pomegranate Chicken and Preserved Lemon and Almond Rice Pilaf.

Several simple ingredients — pomegranate molasses and seeds, preserved lemons, toasted almonds, cinnamon,cumin, pepper, clove, coriander, ginger, chicken and rice — brought together in a way that is unusual for the American palate and uses relatively basic cooking techniques. The outcome is a meal that is tantalizing to the tongue. In my husband's words, this dish is simply "luscious". 

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • A whole chicken, cut into parts, skin removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Dash of cloves powder
  • Dash of cumin
  • Dash of coriander
  • Dash of ginger
  • Dash of allspice
  • 1/3 cup of pomegranate molasses 
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • Pomegranate seeds (arils) from a whole pomegranate, for garnish 

For the rice:

  • 1 cup of basmati rice
  • 2 cups of chicken stock or water
  • 4 ounces of toasted almond slivers 
  • 1 tablespoon of diced preserved lemon 
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley, minced 

Directions

For the chicken:

Wash and dry the chicken parts. Remove the skin from the chicken using a paring knife. Heat the olive oil over a medium flame in a large sauté pan. Add garlic and stir one minute until golden. Add the chicken and cook 5 minutes.

In the meantime, measure the spices in a small bowl and set aside. Mix the pomegranate molasses and chicken stock in a small container and set aside. Using tongs, turn the chicken over and cook another 5 minutes. Sprinkle the spice mixture on the chicken and pour the chicken stock and pomegranate molasses mixture into the pan. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the chicken is tender. Use the pomegranate seeds generously to garnish. 

For the rice: 
Boil the chicken stock in a small pot that has a tight fitting lid. Add the rice, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook according to directions, about 25 minutes. Stir in almonds, preserved lemon and parsley right before serving.