This fragrant chicken dish is loaded with notes of pomegranate, honey, carrots, and apricots — traditional foods served with hope for a sweet and fruitful New Year during the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.
2 medium onions, sliced
2 cups baby carrots (or 2 cups peeled and sliced regular carrots)
2 whole chickens (3-1/2 lb. each), cut into pieces
1 tsp dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dried whole apricots, loosely packed
1 cup pitted whole prunes, loosely packed
2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 cup pomegranate juice (or juice of 1 pomegranate)
2 cloves garlic (about 2 tsp minced)
Juice and rind of 1 lemon
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp honey
According to ancient lore, the amount of seeds in the pomegranate is exactly the same number (613) as the mitzvot (good deeds) found in the Torah (the Jewish Bible). If you’re curious, count away!
Step 1: Spray a large roasting pan with cooking spray. Scatter the onions and carrots in the bottom of the pan. Rinse the chicken well and pat dry with paper towels. Trim the excess fat. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and sprinkle — under the skin and on top — with thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Tuck the apricots and prunes between the chicken pieces.
Step 2: Whisk the ingredients for the marinade together in a bowl. (If using the juice of a whole pomegranate, reserve some of the seeds for garnish.) Pour over the chicken and sprinkle with paprika. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or for as long as 2 days.
Step 3: When the chicken is marinated, preheat the oven to 350°F. Cook the chicken, covered, for 1-1/2 hours or until tender. Uncover and cook for 30 minutes longer, basting occasionally, or until the skin is golden. Remove from the pan from the oven and let cool before refrigerating overnight.
Step 4: About 30 minutes before serving, remove and discard any congealed fat from the chicken. Reheat, covered, for 25-30 minutes at 350°F. Transfer the heated chicken to a large serving platter and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately. Keeps for up to 3 days in the refrigerator; reheats well. Freezes well for up to 4 months.
Reprinted with permission from Norene Gilletz's Norene's Healthy Kitchen (2007 Whitecap Books).