Woohoo – pomegranates are in season!! Those little delectable ruby pearls of antioxidant heaven have arrived! I first fell in love with these little gems while in Italy after discovering that my Sicilian then-boyfriend had his very own little tree in the backyard. When I visited in the fall, down the 3 flights of stairs I would go – basket in hand – returning with a huge pile back up the 3 flights of stairs. We peeled fruit after fruit in the late afternoon Sicilian sun on his little balcony and then cooked with them, made juice from them, added them to a little prosecco (ok, lots of prosecco). So why am I going on about pomegranates when this recipe post is about chicken? Well….I have been spending lots of fun evenings working on my recipes for our upcoming Feast of the Seven Fishes (menu to be posted soon!) and pomegranates are woven throughout the menu – from the pomegranate bellinis through to the final pomegranate-sprinkled salad. Last night was a big decision – should I add a drizzle of pomegranate reduction over the prosciutto wrapped scallops ?? (Final answer – yes!) So with lemon chicken in the oven and extra pomegranate reduction on the stove, it was a natural to combine the two . (Of course, you can forgo the pomegranate reduction but it sure does add a pretty holiday touch to the plating.) Look for our Seven Fishes menu in the week ahead! Happy Holidays! Buon Natale!!
Roasted Lemon Chicken Breasts (with Pomegranate Reduction)
For pomegranate reduction:
2 cups pomegranate juice, such as POM
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the chicken:
4 skin-on spilt chicken breasts
Olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, diced
1/4 cup dry white wine
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Pomegranate seeds for garnish
1 large skillet for frying chicken, 1 9X13 inch ovenproof baking dish, 1 small saucepan
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make the pomegranate reduction:
- Bring the pomegranate juice, sugar, and lemon juice to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until the mixture reduces to about 1/3 – about 30 minutes. It will slightly thicken. Remove from heat.
- Rub olive oil over chicken breasts and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add chicken, skin side down, and saute until golden-brown – about 3 minutes -and leave it alone! (Let it sit for the entire 3 minutes so the skin gets nice and brown!) Flip and cook for 3 minutes on the other side. Transfer chicken to plate and reserve.
- Discard any excess oil. (Do not wipe pan – leave any yummy chicken bits in pan.) Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add diced garlic and saute for only a few seconds to flavor oil. Add in the white wine and simmer for about 1 minute.
- Add in the lemon zest, lemon juice and dried oregano. Simmer for a few minutes more to combine.
- Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Transfer the reserved chicken to the ovenproof baking dish. Pour the cooking liquid over the chicken.
- Tuck the lemon wedges around the chicken.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the chicken is done (160-165 degrees if using a thermometer)
- Remove the chicken from the oven. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes to let all those wonderful juices settle into the meat.
- Drizzle the pomegranate reduction around the plate. Place one chicken breast in the center. Drizzle hot pan juices over. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and serve …yum!