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Persian Style Chicken with Pomegranate Reduction

I had the chance to experience some of the finest Middle Eastern cuisines while living in Dubai for eight years. And I have to say I’ve never tasted anything more flavorful and rich. I missed those flavors a lot and every now and then I want to recreate something that will remind me of those days. This Persian-style chicken is just that. Thank God pomegranates are easy to find pretty much everywhere and in 2020 I’ve been on a mission to eat more of this delicious and healthy fruit.

Pomegranates have anti-histamine properties

In fact, the idea to make this recipe started with two pomegranates I had in the fridge and wanted to use. Pomegranates have powerful health benefits and even anti-histamine properties. That’s why I’ve been using them a lot in the past year or so.

Interestingly enough, the pomegranates I find in Europe are much better quality than those I would buy in Dallas, which were always a hit or miss. So many times they were just bad. If you want a little trick on how to easily take the arils out of a pomegranate, without the mess, check this video I made on Instagram.

Making the pomegranate reduction

Making a pomegranate reduction is something I’ve been experimenting a few times, especially while being on a low histamine diet. I wanted the sweet and sour taste and texture of balsamic vinegar, which is high in histamine. So I made a reduction that I really loved, put it in the fridge overnight, and thought about how I can use it. Persian Style Chicken sounded like a good idea.

Pomegranate reduction

De-lectinize the rice

And to recreate the whole Middle Eastern experience, I did adventure into phase 3 (of the plant paradox) and pressure-cooked organic Indian Basmati rice. I’ve been pressure-cooking rice for a while now. I do it this way even when I cook it for my non-compliant family.

I wash the rice, add it to the pressure cooker, cover with 1 1/2 the quantity of water, cover and pressure cook for 3 minutes. Then I let the pressure release naturally. It comes out so nice and fluffy and never sticks to the pot. Here I use a manual pressure cooker, but I guess an electric one will work even better (some have the rice option so you can use that). After the rice is cooked I let it cool down completely, and reheat it when I serve it. This way your rice becomes lectin-light and a resistant starch.

But, if you are not ready for phase 3 or you just want to keep it low carb, cauliflower rice will make a good replacement. For instructions on how to prepare cauliflower rice from scratch, please check this post: Lectin-Light Beef Burrito Bowl with Cauliflower Rice.

The rest of the ingredients

Once the Pomegranate reduction is made, the dish is very simple to put together. You will need:

A few pieces of chicken, I like bone-in because they add more flavor to the sauce, especially if you used water and not stock. It’s hard to find truly pasture-raised, lectin-light chicken stock, so I’d rather use chicken with bones. You can use boneless pieces and use chicken stock instead of water if you prefer. If you use a whole chicken, as I did, portion in drumsticks, thighs and breast. If you buy it, you can only use chicken thighs or whatever pieces you’d like. Find out more about lectin-light chicken.

About 1 1/2 or 2 cups of walnuts. You will have to slightly roast them and process them for a coarse texture.

Two big onions and spices: turmeric, cinnamon and nutmeg.

A good quality extra virgin olive oil. But you already know that :).

And as usual, I’m going to share a few pictures of the process, for all of you visual people out there.

Persian Style Chicken with Pomegranate Reduction

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By Claudia Curici Serves: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

A delicious lectin-light meal with Middle Eastern flavors.

Ingredients

  • arils from 2 medium pomegranates (keep a few for garnishing)
  • 1 clove
  • 1 teaspoons inulin powder
  • about x6 pieces of chicken (thighs, drumsticks, bone-in breasts)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 big yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 cups water (you can use compliant chicken or vegetable stock if you want)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups ground walnuts
  • pressure cooked Indian Basmati rice (preferably organic) or cauliflower rice (please check the above post for instructions on how to make the rice)

Instructions

1

Make the pomegranate reduction (you can make it one day before and store it in the fridge in a jar with a lid): blend the pomegranate arils in a high-power blender and strain through a sieve, cheesecloth, or nut milk bag making sure you get all the juices out. Add the juice and the inulin powder to a saucepan and simmer on low heat until it’s reduced to half the quantity.

2

Preheat the oven to 300F (150C) and roast the walnuts, for about 10 minutes. Check and stir a few times keeping an eye on them so they don’t burn. Add the roasted nuts to a food processor and pulse a few times until you get a coarse texture.

3

Warm a big skillet with extra virgin olive oil and sear the chicken pieces on all sides, until golden.

4

Take the chicken out on a plate and add the onions to the pan, sautéing until they are fragrant and golden, for about 10 minutes.

5

Add the chicken back in, add the spices, stir well, add the water, cover and let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes.

6

When the chicken is cooked, add the walnuts and the pomegranate reduction, combine well, cover and simmer for 5-10 more minutes.

7

Serve with pressure-cooked and cooled rice (Indian Basmati) or cauliflower rice.

8

Garnish with pomegranate arils.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Valerie Murphy
    February 7, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    I am PP Intensive so no meat products is part of my protocol. I am thinking this may be delish if I switch out the chicken for my approved smash fish, shrimp? What say you? Thanks

    • Reply
      Claudia
      February 8, 2021 at 2:48 am

      Hi Valerie, for some reason I don’t see this combination working with shrimps (that’s just me), but maybe it can work with a fatty, white fish? If you try please let us know, now I’m curious xx

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