This was a surprise hit. Not that I didn't think it would be nice but before I made it I couldn't really imagine what it would taste like. This was because the recipe calls for Pomegranate Molasses - something I've never used before. I'm pleased I tried it though - it gave a lovely, fruity, sweet/savoury flavour and I'd highly recommend it. The soft aubergines made for a lovely side dish and the vinaigrette added further depth and flavour to the whole dish.
I've also since made the marinated chicken on it's own and served it with a roasted vegetable couscous (you can find the recipe I used here) - a simpler dish but still extremely nice.
Pomegranate Marinated Chicken with Saffron Couscous, Grilled Aubergines & Pomegranate Vinaigrette
(adapted from Books for Cooks volume 5, various authors)
8 organic chicken thighs, boned
6 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 pinch ground allspice
1 aubergine (eggplant) sliced
3-4 tbsp olive oil
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE
125ml/4 fl oz/1/2 cup pomegranate molasses
juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sugar
125ml/4 fl oz/1/2 cup olive oil
salt, black pepper
FOR THE COUSCOUS
a pinch of saffron threads
500g/1lb/2 cups couscous
350ml/12 fl oz/1 1/2 cups hot chicken stock
30g/1oz/2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
1) Put the chicken, pomegranate molasses, cinnamon, garlic and allspice in a bowl and mix well to coat each piece of chicken evenly with the syrup and spices. Cover and let marinade at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 6 hours in the fridge.
2) Mix the ingredients for the vinaigrette together in a bowl or in a jam jar with a lid.
3) Place the couscous and saffron in a large bowl and pour over the hot stock. Cover with a plate or cling film and leave for 10 minutes then use a fork to break it up. When ready to serve, melt the butter in a frying pan over a low heat, add the couscous and heat through gently, fluffing the grains with a fork. Add salt to taste and stir in the herbs just before serving.
4) Brush the aubergine on both sides with olive oil. Grill on a barbeque, on a ridged cast-iron grill pan or under an overhead grill until tender and lightly charred on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Place the aubergine slices in a bowl and gently toss with all but about 4 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5) Take the chicken out of its marinade and grill on a barbeque, on a ridged cast-iron grill pan or under an overhead grill. Start cooking on the skin side and grill until nicely crisp, about 7 minutes (I used skinless thighs which worked just as well). Then turn over and continue until cooked through with no trace of pink. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
6) Arrange the couscous on a large platter, pile the chicken in the middle, surround with the aubergine slices and drizzle over the rest of the vinaigrette. Add a sprinkling of fresh parsley, coriander or mint if you like. Serve at once.