Archive for the ‘Middle Eastern’ Category

Pomegranate glazed grilled chicken with Middle Eastern nut rice

Pomegranate glazed grilled chicken with Middle Eastern rice with toasted nuts and cinnamon

Let the grilling begin!

I have a bottle of pomegranate molasses in my refrigerator that is a bit past its prime.

Way, way past its prime…

I don’t know why I’ve kept it sitting around for so long – since it adds such an interesting flavor to food. But whatever, it’s been sitting there a long time.

In coming up with a way to use it up, I thought it would go great slathered over grilled chicken. Initially, I had planned on making a thick, sticky, sweet-sour lacquer for crispy chicken skin. A Middle Eastern barbecue sauce, if you will. In the end, I created a lighter, tangy basting sauce. Brushed lightly over grilled chicken, it imparts a fantastically tangy flavor. And neither mouth-puckeringly sour nor cloyingly sweet.

To pair with it…

What would go great with pomegranate glazed chicken? Why rice spiked with toasted nuts and cinnamon of course! A great side dish on its own – the cinnamon really makes it interesting. Sprinkle a little extra over the top when serving just to finish it off. A perfect match!

Pomegranate Glazed Grilled Chicken

Makes 3/4 cup or so of glaze – enough for 2-4 chicken breasts
1/4 cup white wine
2 T minced shallots
1/2 cup chicken broth
Juice of one orange
1 t honey
2 T pomegranate molasses
1 T butter
2 bone in, skin on, split chicken breasts

To make glaze:
1. Combine wine and shallots in small saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce until wine is mostly evaporated.

2. Add broth, orange juice, pomegranate molasses and honey. Bring to boil and reduce until 3/4 cup liquid is left.

3. Whisk in butter. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

To make chicken:
1. Start grill. We have a small gas grill that doesn’t have separate burners, so we just light it and let it get to about 450 degrees.

2. Oil grate. Place chicken skin side down on grate. Cover and cook 10 minutes.

3. Flip chicken over. Baste with glaze and cook additional 15 minutes – basting a couple of times..

4. Check temp of chicken. Might need turn it skin side down and cook an additional 3-5 minutes. Might not. Pull off when it is done to your degree of doneness (remember, it will raise maybe 10 degrees after you take it off the grill and let it rest. Give it one more coat of glaze before serving.

Middle Eastern Nut Rice with Cinnamon

Serves 4
1 T oil
1 small onion minced
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
2 cups chicken stock
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used a mix of pistachio and macadamia – cause I had them sitting around)
ground cinnamon

1. Toast nuts: place nuts on a baking sheet and toast at 400 degrees for 7 minutes or until fragrant (don’t let them burn). Take out and remove from baking sheet to stop them from cooking. Set aside.

2. In medium saucepan with a tight fitting lid, saute onions in oil over medium heat until soft – five minutes.

3. Add rice. Stir to coat in oil.

4. Add chicken broth and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil.

5. Put lid on saucepan. Turn heat down to low and let cook for 20 minutes.

6. Check for doneness. If done remove from heat, remove cinnamon stick and stir in toasted nuts. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately sprinkled with dash of ground cinnamon.


Ms. Pantry Raid


Read Full Post »

Great Lebanese at home! 


Great Lebanese at home!

My neighborhood is known for two things: 1. the home of notorious, soon to be ex-governor Rod Blagojevich and 2. being one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the nation (according to Barrons magazine).  Since I don’t care much about number one, let’s focus on number two. Thanks to our diversity, we’ve got tons of great ethnic restaurants. One of which has the best Chicken Shawarma ever. Since I don’t get to go there often (since my husband doesn’t share the love), I thought I’d give it a whirl at home. I scoured the web for recipes.  Lebanese? Persian?  Greek? I had no idea what I was looking for, but I did know that most of the recipes I came across seemed flatout wrong (curry powder??). Then I came across this one that seemed promising. I made a few tweaks – broiling the chicken instead of boiling it and not marinating it nearly as long as recommended since I didn’t want the meat to turn mushy – and it turned out pretty fantastic if I do say so myself. Next time, I might try with an olive oil marinade instead of the yogurt. I served it on Naan with some Sabre Hummus (tahini garlic sauce would also be a great choice, but hummus was on-hand), tomato and cucumber. Fabulous!

Chicken Shawarma

Adapted from About.com


  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts (thinly cut)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • juice from 1 lemon


Combine all ingredients except for chicken to make marinade.  Add chicken, cover and refrigerate at least an hour, preferably more (maybe overnight).  

When ready to bake, turn oven broiler to HI (or use your grill). Remove chicken from marinade and let drain in colander to remove excess.

Arrange chicken on a baking sheet. Broil 6-10 minutes or until chicken is done and looks brown and crispy in parts.

Serve with naan, pita, lavash, whatever you’ve got. Hummus or a garlic tahini sauce would make a nice addition. Add some veg – tomatoes, cucumber, a little thinly sliced onion. Perhaps a sprinkle of ground sumac if you’ve got it. 


Read Full Post »