Monday, September 19, 2011

Georgian Chicken in Pomegranate and Tamarind Sauce

I've never been to the country of Georgia (or even the state, now that I think about it), but if all their food is as delicious as this chicken, I want to go! I tried this recipe initially because I had an open bottle of pomegranate molasses in my cabinet (which I use occasionally to make muhammara). Plus I love tamarind, so it seemed right up my alley. Turns out it's not only up my alley, but down, across, under and all over my alley. And in case that didn't make any sense, I'm saying I liked it. A lot. The sauce is a little sweet and tart with added freshness and zing from the herbs and spices. Om nom nom.

Yield: 8-10 servings

4 medium yellow onions, diced
4 medium red onions, diced
2 cups chopped fresh cilantro
10 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons tamarind paste (or tamarind concentrate)*
1/2 cup pomegranate molasses* + 1/2 cup water (or 1 cup pomegranate juice)
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon salt
10 skinless chicken thighs
10 skinless chicken legs
pomegranate seeds, for garnish

*sold in Middle Eastern and Indian markets and some supermarkets.

1.     In a large Dutch oven or in a pot with a tight-fitting lid, mix the onions, 1 1/2 cups cilantro, the garlic and the spices. Blend in the diluted tamarind paste, the diluted pomegranate paste, the ketchup and the salt.
2.     Add chicken thighs and legs to pot, and submerge in sauce. Cover, and cook on medium-high heat for 10 minutes, then lower heat, and cook for 1 hour. Uncover, adjust seasonings to taste, and continue cooking for 20 minutes.
3.     Transfer chicken and sauce to a serving platter, and garnish with remaining cilantro. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over platter, and serve hot.

slightly adapted from The New York Times—originally adapted from "The Essential Book of Jewish Festival Cooking" by Phyllis Glazer and Miriyam Glazer (Harper Collins, 2004)
tamarind concentrate and pomegranate molasses

The original recipe called for 1/2 cup pomegrante paste diluted in
1/2 cup water (but I used the molasses and it worked great).
tamarind concentrate
adding pomegranate molasses to garlic, onions, cilantro & spices
everything but the chicken
chicken thighs added

I only made 1/4 of the recipe (and regretted not having any leftovers).
all mixed
after 10 minutes
cooked and ready
pomegranate seeds
served with pomegranate seeds over brown rice
It's nice to have something to soak up all the fantastic sauce.)

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