The pomegranate juice used in the recipe below was kindly sent to me by POM Wonderful. The value of the product received was less than $20 and was a one-time occurrence with the company.
As a chef, one of my favorite things to do is experiment with a new ingredient or use a familiar ingredient in a new way. This was the case with pomegranate juice. Of course I’d tried it before, although always in a drink format (and usually with alcohol), and have used pomegranate molasses in cooking and fresh pomegranates to top salads or desserts, but I’d never tried cooking with pomegranate juice.
So when the people at POM Wonderful offered to send me a few bottles to try, I jumped at the opportunity and looked at it is as a way to experiment. Of course, by the time the juice arrived I was too busy with holiday hoopla to pay it much attention, so there it’s been, sitting in my fridge for weeks just waiting to be opened. And tonight, finally, I used it.
Despite the delay in actually using the juice, the recipe has been brewing in my mind for a while. I’ve always enjoyed chicken marinated in aged balsamic vinegar (and yes, it has to be a high-quality, aged balsamic) with fresh rosemary and thought adding pomegranate juice to the mix just sounded right and would offer a seasonal, festive touch to my standard dish.
The combination worked wonderfully. The pomegranate juice remained the dominant flavor in the marinade but was complimented perfectly by the slightly sweet balsamic vinegar. A touch of Dijon mustard, garlic and rosemary finished off the marinade, resulting in an ever-so-slightly fruity and tangy oven-roasted chicken.
To round out the meal, I served the chicken with simple cauliflower (using garlic, fresh rosemary and lemon juice) and sauteed spinach. It was healthy, easy and delicious, making the meal an across the board winner.
Pomegranate Balsamic Chicken - makes 2 servings
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon fresh minced rosemary
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper
2 chicken breasts, with skin and bones
Whisk together the garlic, rosemary, mustard, pomegranate juice, balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a small bowl to make the marinade. Season to taste with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Set the chicken breasts in a bowl or baking dish just large enough to hold them and pour in the marinade. Use your hands to make sure the chicken pieces are well coated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate at least two hours up to overnight.
Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 20 minutes before cooking and preheat the oven to 400°F. Roast the chicken skin side up until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 35 to 40 minutes depending on the size of the chicken breasts.
Serve warm with cauliflower and sauteed spinach.