Chicken thighs are my favorite cut of poultry because I love the rich meat when marinated and roasted in the oven. The delicious dark meat tastes as if you are eating a more expensive bird like quail or duck, but chicken thighs are relatively inexpensive. I usually buy my chicken thighs, bone-in with the skin because it keeps the meat moist during cooking.
Pomegranate molasses is a middle eastern product that I have been using for years to glaze meat. You can purchase it in higher end grocery stores, middle eastern markets or online. What makes this molasses different from the American version is its rich pomegranate flavor, achieved from slowly boiling down pomegranate juice. Just a couple of brushes on poultry, beef, duck or even vegetables, adds an elegant hint of pomegranate flavor without going to a lot of work.
I love the fresh flavor combination of pomegranate and poultry and I serve the Roasted Pomegranate Chicken Thighs with a smear of spiced yogurt for a cool contrast. This recipe is so easy to prepare, you can marinate the meat ahead of time and roast the thighs in a hot oven for a quick weeknight meal. If you want to go a little fancier, you can do the same preparation on Cornish Game Hens and serve them for a special occasion or holiday!
4-6 chicken thighs, bone-in with skin
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon herbs de provence, or dried thyme
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pomegranate molasses
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1. In a oven safe dish, combine the Dijon, garlic, herbs de provence, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Whisk the olive oil into the mixture until combined.
2. Dredge the thighs into the marinate and leave them skin side down in the dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the thighs from the marinade and pat dry. Clean and dry the same dish and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place the thighs in the dish skin side up. Roast the thighs in the oven for 30 minutes.
4. Using your pomegranate molasses, baste the thighs on the skin side several times and turn the heat up the oven to 425 degrees. Roast again for 12 minutes, basting again after 7 minutes. If there is excessive juice in the pan from the chicken, pour it out of the pan before basting again, so the meat doesn’t boil in the juices.
5. Remove the chicken thighs from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. In a bowl, combine the yogurt, cardamom, cumin and juice of 1 lemon.
6. Serve the pomegranate chicken thighs with couscous and vegetables and a smear of fresh yogurt. Enjoy!