As you all may know, two weeks ago was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. You can say that this holiday is easily a contender for my top favorites. Why? Well, Rosh Hashanah in my words is the eating holiday. The main activity consists of getting together with your family and friends then eating and drinking until you are so full that you feel like a balloon that needs to be popped, and have no option but to relocate to the couch and continue the drinking and chilling there… until the next meal, and wait a minute, there are five of them!
My family lives in England. It’s a real rarity to have us all together in one place, so when I was told that they were all coming to New York to celebrate with me this year, I was pretty excited. What’s more exciting is that as well as having my own immediate family here, I had Jonathan’s family here too… Now our families get on VERY well, as if they are identical twins, separated at birth, one shipped off to England and the other to America… sound familiar? Well yes, that may have been the storyline of The Parent Trap (only one of the most classic movies of my upbringing), but it oddly represents my two families relationship too. Coming together strangely resembles the reunion of Hallie Parker and Annie James during that fateful summer camp season of July 1998.
Anyway, fast forward to the week of Rosh Hashanah, when I finally realize what is about to take place, sixteen people – parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins and friends, all piling in to my 850 square feet box in Manhattan, to come celebrate the new year together. Countless folding tables and chairs later, in addition to hours of re-arranging furniture just to squeeze everyone in (did it really matter if one person had to sit in the bathroom?) , and we were ready, well ready to start cooking.
I’m a sucker for all things kitschy and being that Rosh Hashanah is all about new fruits and all things sweet – it was time to get creative. This meant whole apples filled with honey, buckets full of apples in lieu of flowers and of course a recipe that I had been very excited to try, pomegranate chicken. I racked my brain and scoured my cookbook’s for a recipe to do the exotic combination justice and finally found this gem: “Mom’s Chicken with Pomegranate and Walnuts” from Einat Admony’s amazing new cookbook Balaboosta.
I have switched up the cooking method a little as well as a few tweaks to the ingredients but this recipe is out of this world. Now go buy that cookbook and see what else she has in store for you – I promise you, you’re gonna love it!
You will need
- 6 cups pomegranate seeds (about 8 pomegranates)
- 4 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teasapoons cumin
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 3 cups walnuts
- pinch of saffron threads
- Start by making the pomegranate confiture. Place the seeds,sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until it reaches a syrupy consistency, about 35 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent bottom from burning. Remove from heat and cool.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Place a large pot on medium high heat for five minutes. While the pot is heating up clean and pat the chicken dry and season with salt, pepper, and cumin.
- Add the oil to the pot then add the chicken. Brown the chicken on all sides.
- Add 1 1/4 cups pomegranate confiture then stir in the saffron and walnuts.
- Place cover on the pot and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer for 45 minutes.
- Transfer chicken to a broiler or oven proof pyrex adding in a third of the pomegranate sauce and roast for 40 minutes so that the skin gets crispy. If you want a more stewed chicken keep it in the pot on the stove, uncover and reduce sauce for 45 minutes.
- Pour remaining sauce over the chicken and garnish with pomegranate and parsley.