something for the weekend? pomegranate roasted chicken

pomegranate roasted chicken
I find that it is never too early in the week to think about what I am going to cook for Sunday lunch, so this is my suggestion for something you might like to try this Bank Holiday weekend.

London temperatures spiked last week as if the weather was trying to atone for all the appalling conditions we have had over the past few months, Olympic fortnight not withstanding. Since my kitchen can reach furnace-like temperatures even during winter, the last thing I wanted to do was cook a traditional roast lunch. It was just too damned hot.

My dilemma was that my guests like tradition. They like a traditional British roast with all the trimmings. Roast potatoes are mandatory and experience has shown me that they really do not like being taken out of their culinary comfort zone.

It may not sound like it, but I do actually care about what I cook my guests; it is not just all about what I want to cook since I love the reaction of happy people, stuffed to the gills. There is no point in giving people what they don't like. But my suggestion to my guests that perhaps I might cook a whole fish or perhaps poached salmon was met with waves of disappointment and met with a curious response. "Well we can bring you a joint from our freezer if you are worried about money" . . . er . . .argh! Clearly they really, really wanted roast meat! It wasn't about the damn money (although I am trying to be thrifty), it was about the heat and trying to keep cool! Oh well, their loss.

I compromised with a roast chicken infused with middle eastern flavours accompanied by a selection of interesting mezze-style salads, which I could prepare the night before. And to be fair, my guests later told me that it was the best meal that I had ever given them, which from their usual grudging reactions is high praise indeed!

I have a bottle of Pomegranate Molasses, acquired from my local middle eastern supermarket and I am always looking for more ways of using it up. The molasses are both sweet and very tart and blend beautifully with aromatic spices, so I made a dressing which combined the molasses with ginger, garlic and cumin, which gave the cooked bird a beautiful dark brown lustre!

Skill level: Easy
1 x onion
4 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 x garlic cloves
1 tsp grated ginger
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cumin
1 x lemon
1 x chicken
30g butter
1 x bay leaf
olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
water (optional)

  1. The rule of thumb for cooking a chicken is 20 minutes for every 500g, plus 25 minutes and 10 minutes for resting. So a 1.5kg chicken will cook for 1 hour and 25 minutes, with 10 minutes resting.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220C / Gas Mark 7.
  3. In a blender, combine half the onion with the pomegranate molasses, ginger, garlic, ground spices, lemon juice and lemon zest. (Reserve the lemon shells).
  4. Season the inside of the chicken with salt and freshly ground pepper, the other half of the onion, the bay leaf and the lemon shells.
  5. Combine half of the pomegranate dressing with the butter and massage this under the skin of the chicken.
  6. Place the chicken in a roasting tin and drizzle over a little olive oil. Roast uncovered for 25 minutes.
  7. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C / Gas Mark 4.
  8. Pour the rest of the dressing over the chicken and cook, covered with foil, for the remaining time.
  9. You may need to add a little water to the bottom of the roasting pan during cooking, as well as basting once or twice.
  10. The dressing will ensure that the skin of the chicken is really blackened and crisp, but don't worry as this is normal and tastes delicious!
  11. Rest for 10 minutes, covered in foil, before carving.
  12. I served this with a potato salad, imam bayildi (stuffed aubergine), a simple rocket and pine nut salad and kisir.


mycookinghut said...

Looks nice! I love the use of pomegranate!

Lovebbi Suryanto said...

worth to try

o cozinheiro este algarve said...

Love the sound of this.I have home made pomegranate molasses in the fridge which I use as a marinade for pork dishes but never tried it with chicken.So here´s thinking.

Wendy@The Omnivorous Bear said...

Oh delicious! That makes my mouth water!

belleau kitchen said...

it is a beauty... I have a chicken in the fridge that needs some special love... I may have to go and hunt down this pomegranate molases!... lovely picc x

Pamela said...


Cro Magnon said...

Good roast chicken is wonderful. Blow the furnace-style heat, the look and taste of a quality roasted chook really gets the juices going. I could eat several each week