So many of our recipes have come from the NY Times lately that you might be shocked to learn this meal came from The Week magazine. This particular meal comes from Reem Kassis and is adapted from an Arabic cookbook. With ingredients like pomegranate molasses and sumac, this is a wonderful introduction to Middle Eastern/Persian cooking.
Start by prepping four [large] boneless skinless chicken breasts. Cut a slit in the chicken, lengthwise, on the side, without going all the way through, so you create a pocket. Place them in a bowl or ziplock with 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses (which can be found in many international aisles of the grocery store but can also be made by simmering down pomegranate juice, sugar, and lemon until it reduces), salt, and pepper. Let it sit in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Note: I didn’t have time for this. I simply coated the chicken and moved onto the next step. Make the filling in a food processor by pulsing 1 c. shelled pistachios, 1 c. packed mixed greens (I used chopped fresh spinach, parsley, and cilantro – watercress and mint are also recommended), 2 cloves garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp sumac, and 1 tsp parmesan until you have a paste. Stuff the chicken with the paste and hold together with toothpicks. Preheat the oven to 350 while you brown the chicken (in olive oil) in a cast iron skillet for about 3 minutes/side. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes.
My beau’s thoughts? He enjoyed it, but thought we needed more stuffing practice. I agree. There should be enough stuffing that every bite gets some. We had plenty of the paste leftover but didn’t create a good enough pocket to really get it in there. He also thought we should have let it sit in the pomegranate molasses a bit longer for that flavor to really soak into the chicken. I agree here as well. It’s that pomegranate that helps get the chicken nice and browned. I was concerned it would be too sweet, but this chicken can handle it. Overall, this has real potential to be an absolute winner – especially because I loved that pistachio filling – we just need to practice our stuffing technique. This is also a gorgeous dish with the green filling popping against the chicken. It’s also rare to see stuffed chicken without tons of cheese (the amount of parm here is pretty negligible) and I love that we got rid of the creamy element in the stuffing but didn’t sacrifice flavor at all.