Matthew Goodman’s “Jewish Food: The World at Table” is a great book. He’s got a great range of recipes from all over the world, as the title indicates, and they are unfussy, and delicious. Below is a favorite, from p. 162.
“Culinarily, the best way of using pomegranates may be with pomegranate molasses, a fixture in the cookery of Jews from Syria, Iran and Iraq. A thick, brown, syrup, pomegranate molasses has a tangily sour taste with a slight undertone of sweetness. It’s used to flavor the sweet-and-sour dishes prominent in the cuisine of the region, in much the same way as tamarind concentrate;to my taste though, pomegranate molasses is more pleasing, fruitier and less powerfully acerbic.
Above – Grilled Quail in Pomegranate Molasses; click here.
Perhaps the most well known of the dishes using pomegranate molasses is in the Iranian pomegranate and walnut sauce called fesenjan. It is most commonly made with duck, though it can also be made with chicken, quail or even meatballs. In my adaptation of fesenjan, I’ve added fresh figs, whose lush sweetness helps to balance the astringency of the pomegranate molasses (which can be purchased at most Middle Eastern groceries).”
- 1 chicken, 3-4 lbs.; cut into 8 pieces or 4 split breasts
- fresh ground pepper
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 cut finely chopped walnuts
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 12 fresh figs, quartered
- 1/3 cup pomegranate molasses
- 2 tbsp. honey
- Rinse chicken and pat dry; Season well with salt and pepper
- Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned on all sides. Remove and drain on paper towels
- Lower heat to medium, then add onion to pan and cook, stirring often until soft and transluscent; Lower heat to medium-low and add walnuts; Cook stirring regularly, until they begin to change colors. About 3 minutes
- Add chicken stock, figs, pomegranate molasses, and honey and mix well. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Return the chicken to the pan and simmer, uncovered, until cooked through, about 35 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a large serving platter and pour the sauce over it. Serve hot.