Let me take your taste buds on a flavor journey. This Jordanian influenced Roasted Chicken with Pomegranate Molasses is packed with big and bold flavors starting with a seasoning mix of cardamom and sumac that gets rubbed under the skin prior to searing. It’s then roasted with pomegranate molasses, thyme and chicken stock for one juicy, tender and memorable meal.
This dish gets it’s inspiration from the land of Jordan and one of the three main spices that are traditionally used is probably right in your pantry now, but if it isn’t you can easily pick it and the other two up at stores like Trader Joe’s, Penzy’s or online. The first spice that I’m talking about is cardamom, and for me, I was first introduced to this one from Indian cooking and baking.
Here in the States cardamom is probably most often used in baking, but the Jordanians use it differently and in savory dishes or in coffee. When I was in Cairo a few years back it was most notable in the thick Arabic coffee that was steeped and placed at our table. Along with a glass of water to rinse your mouth out too, as the ground, powdered coffee bean and roasted cardamom seeds were at the bottom of the pot. Like silt in a river, but what a flavor and experience! The group we were with went on to Petra, Jordan, but I had to return home for work… but that’s another story.
The other two main spices you will find in Jordanian cooking is Za’atar, which really is a spice blend and then Sumac.
Typically Za’atar is a blend of ground sumac, roasted sesame seeds, marjoram, thyme and oregano. I usually add kosher salt to my mix as well. Sumac is a dried red berry that has been ground and gives a very tart, citrus flavor to many dishes.
For this chicken dish I rubbed the cardamom, sumac and salt blend under the skin of the chicken before pan searing. The other main ingredient for this dish, pomegranate molasses, is from a favorite fruit of mine, the pomegranate. If you can’t find it at your local market, you can order it online or make your own from pomegranate juice that has been slowly cooked down until it becomes a thick syrup. This is some tasty stuff here people, give it a try!
Jordanian Roasted Chicken with Pomegranate Molasses
- 2 chicken breasts and thighs each bone in with skin on
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tbsp sumac
- 2 tsp kosher salt separated
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 cup pomegranate molasses
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 6 sprigs of fresh thyme tied
- pomegranate arils
- fresh chives chopped fine for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a small bowl mix the cardamom, sumac and 1 teaspoon salt. Divide and rub the seasoning mix under the skin using your index finger. Season the top on each piece with remaining salt.
- Heat a cast iron pan or skillet on high. Add olive oil to the pan and place the chicken skin side down and turn heat to medium high. Make sure to leave room around each, you want to sear and brown the chicken, not steam it. Brown for 5 minutes each side.
- Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add red pepper flakes, pomegranate molasses, thyme bundle and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and scrape bottom of pan to get all the bits from frying the chicken. Allow to reduce to half. Add chicken back to the pan and turn to coat. Place in the oven and roast for 12 minutes.
- Remove from oven, and spoon pomegranate reduction over chicken. Top with chopped chives, pomegranate arils and serve.