Chicken and pomegranate stew

Chicken. And. Pomegranate. This is a taste sensation, believe me. This is one of my go-to Saturday night dinners and a favourite when we have people over. It impresses every time, even the time the screw from the casserole dish top came loose and was served to one of our dear friends in his chicken and pomegranate serving – he still raved about it!

Initially, you might think, hmm, that’s a strange combination and I don’t know how much I love pomegranate, but come the first bite, you’ll be converted. Just the right amount of sweet and fiery with soft meat and a thick, tomatoe-y sauce, this is superbly tasty and filling and spot on with rice, bread and other more Indian-native sides. Though the overall taste is a little more English – stew-y and stodgy and wholesome, with a tang. Get the idea? You’ll want to the recipe then.

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pomegranate

Serves 4

You’ll need

1 onion, diced

3 red chillis, chopped finely

3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely

Handful of fresh coriander

Paprika

Chilli powder

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips

400ml tomato passata (as good quality as you can afford)

5 tbsp pomegranate molasses

300ml pomegranate juice (as good quality as you can afford)

Pomegranate seeds

Start by getting a casserole dish nice and hot on the hob and adding a generous lug of olive oil. Once that’s spitting sprinkle your chicken strips with paprika, chilli powder, salt and pepper. The paprika is the key one here, for the rest keep it to a low-key sprinkle. Add the chicken to the dish and cook for around 8 minutes, ’til it’s white on all sides. Remove the chicken and set aside, then throw in your onion.

Cook the onion for 10 minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn. Then add the garlic and chilli, cooking for another 5 minutes. Stir in the coriander and make sure you’re scraping any of the sticky bits on the bottom of the dish and stirring them up.

Now, pour in the passata and add a touch more paprika. Give everything a good stir and add the pomegranate juice and molasses. Add the chicken and its spicy juices, give a good stir and turn the heat up. Once it starts to bubble and pop, reduce the heat a little and pop the lid on. Leave for half an hour.

This is a good time to boil some rice (with a little coriander powder or more fresh green stuff is a nice touch) and warm the plates.

The stew is nearly done now – remove the lid, whack up the heat and start stirring hard. You want the colour to be quite dark and the consistency thick and verging on sticky. Keep stirring ’til you’re happy with the shade and stick-level and serve with the rice.

Finish with a handful of pomegranate seeds. I’d recommend getting yours from the pre-pack section to avoid the arduous task of removing the seeds from the fruit, but if you’re stuck deseeding, cut a circle around the top of the fruit, then slice down the sides and peel away the outside of the fruit. Tapping it gently on a hard surface will remove most of the seeds but you’ll have to pull out the rest. Enjoy!

Let me know what you think @GemmaLucyPress

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Freelance writer, eater, drinker and cook living in London.

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