Sunday, February 2, 2014

Roast chicken with pomegranate and za'atar

This is so easy that it almost does not qualify as a recipe.  I must have eaten or seen this somewhere before, but I am not sure where.  It takes about 10 minutes to prepare, 45 to roast.  The pomegranate seeds at the end are optional, but add a nice texture and a burst of flavor.  You can leave it to sit before you cook it but don't have to.  It is good enough for company or a Shabbat dinner and easy enough for a weeknight.  All you need is a well-stocked pantry:

Roast chicken with pomegranate and za'atar


  • 1 chicken, 3.5-4 pounds, cut into 4-8 serving pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tablespoons za'atar (I used Galil brand)
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • 1-2 teaspoons Turkish red pepper (Aleppo, Maras or Kirmiz)
  • 1-3 tablespoons olive oil (more will taste better, but I used a scant tablespoon)
  • 1 large onion, quartered and sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds


  1. Crush the garlic with the salt to form a paste.
  2. Mix in the next 4 ingredients.
  3. Drizzle in the oil to form a more or less uniform paste.
  4. Spread lightly all over the chicken pieces.
  5. Put the onion in a baking pan large enough to hold the chicken with a little room around it.  (It the  chicken is packed to close it will take longer to cook, may not brown well, and will produce too much juice.
  6. You may bake the chicken immediately, or leave it up to two hours outside of the fridge or overnight inside.  
  7. Roast in a preheated 425 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour until done to your taste.  (The precise time will depend on many variables, including the temperature of the chicken, the size of the pieces, the real as opposed to the presumed temperature of your oven, and the size of the pan.)
  8. After removing from the oven, scatter pomegranate seeds over the top.
  9. Serves 4 along with rice or bulgur (see below) for the onions and juice from the pan.

Bulgur:  Since bulgur is precooked and dried wheat, it cooks incredibly quickly.  There are many more elaborate recipes for bulgur pilaf, and many are good, but you don't need to bother since it really doesn't need cooking, just soaking and heating.  It is very healthy and easy and I am really surprised that people don't make it more often.  To serve 4, put one cup coarse bulgur in a heat proof bowl.  Sprinkle the top with 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Pour one cup boiling water over it, cover the dish, and leave it sit for about 20 minutes.  Heat it by covering the dish with foil and putting it in the oven for the last 20 minutes of cooking, or covering it with paper towel and zapping in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.

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