Braised Chicken with Pomegranate Molasses

I'm crazy for pomegranate molasses. I first discovered it when I was working at a restaurant in SoHo, and one of my tasks was to make the spice run (that was just because I lived near the store). It was such a treat—I'd get sent up to Kalustyan's, an incredible Indian spice market, to shop for ingredients for the restaurant. I'd go upstairs to where they serve food and get a falafel and hummus sandwich and then wander through the aisles of spices, rice, sweets, and grains, just taking it all in, amazed by the array of flavors the world has to offer. One of these was pomegranate molasses. Pomegranate is actually used a lot in Italian cooking, so I felt comfy using this delicious delicacy! It's a brilliant red color, has a lovely jammy consistency, and it's super sour, so it gives dishes a real flavor bump. I love shellacking it on the outside of a chicken for a tangy, tart, sticky glaze.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 4 servings 
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Ingredients

Extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, smashed 

Crushed red pepper 

8 chicken thighs, trimmed of excess skin 

Kosher salt 

1 cup pomegranate molasses 

1 cup chicken stock 

1 thyme bundle, tied with kitchen twine 

1 cup pomegranate seeds 

1 bunch of fresh chives, finely chopped 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Coat a large saute pan with olive oil. Toss in 2 of the garlic cloves and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Bring the pan to medium-high heat. When the garlic is golden and very aromatic, remove it and discard--it has fulfilled its garlic destiny. 
  3. Season the chicken thighs with salt and place them skin side down in the pan. Don't crowd the pan or the thighs will steam instead of brown--you may have to work in batches here, no worries. Brown the chicken thighs really well on both sides, 10 to 12 minutes total.  
  4. Transfer the chicken to a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 10 to 12 minutes or until cooked through. 
  5. Ditch the oil from the pan and add 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup of the pomegranate molasses along with 1/2 cup of the chicken stock, scraping the mixture from the bottom of the pan. Add the thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it evaporate by half--it should be slightly thick and syrupy. Season with salt.  
  6. Return the chicken to the pan, along with the juices from the sheet pan, scraping up any bits. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook in the sauce for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until the sauce thickens and it clings to the chicken in a yummy embrace. 
  7. While the chicken roasts, add the remaining molasses, stock, and garlic to the pan along with the thyme bundle and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Taste and season with salt if needed. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer (BTB, RTS). Cook until the liquid is thick and syrupy. Discard the garlic cloves and thyme bundle. 
  8. Remove the chicken from the oven, transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with the sauce, and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and chives before serving. 
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