Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pan roasted Chicken with pomegranates and spinach

1kg chicken, guinea fowl, or pheasant
100g/3&3/4oz ricotta cheese
small handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked
sea salt and ground black pepper
olive oil
knob of butter
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1/2 wineglass of white wine
seeds of 1 pomegranate, skin and yellow pith removed
2 large handfuls of spinach, thoroughly washed

Remove the drumsticks, thighs, and breasts from the bird or ask your butcher to do it for you.
In a small bowl, beat together the ricotta and the finely chopped thyme. Season lightly. Using two fingers, delicately part the skin from the chicken. With a tsp insert the ricotta mix into these gaps, then pull the skin down to cover the gaps.
Preheat to 220c/425f. Season the chicken, then drizzle an ovenproof pan with oiland fry the drumsticks and thighs for 5 min until crisp and golden. Add the breasts skin side up, with a large knob of butter, your garlic, and your wine. Place at the top of the preheated oven and cook for 25 min. Add the pomegranate seeds then cook for a further 5 min, by which time the meat should be cooked all the way through. Take the pan out of the oven and put it back on the hob. Add the spinach and let it wilt. Serve with the sauce.

This recipe was significant for me for two reasons. One is that I have never cooked with pomegranate, the other is that I’ve never cut up my own chicken. I know that sounds silly, but it just seemed intimidating. Whenever a recipe called for a whole chicken cut into parts, I just bought parts.

Turns out it’s no big deal to cut up a chicken. You don’t need a meat cleaver (which is what I had suspected for quite some time). Do make sure to look at a set of directions in a book or on line, but then it’s simple.

Good thing too, because for this recipe there were lots of extra bits which I baked with some white wine and garlic and a bit of butter, to use for lunches (chicken salad and such).

As for the recipe, it was great. It was really easy to make, and the sauce that it made was very tasty. Sadly, the pomegranate seeds lost some of their fabulous color in the cooking, but they still added a great flavor. The spinach cooked right in the pot was a nice touch too.

It made me realize that a lot of recipes that look really fancy, are just as easy as baking a chicken, they just have an extra twist to them. Also, they give you the added bonus of feeling like a fancy cook… Thank you Jamie Oliver.

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