Fig & Walnut Chicken
I'm thankful to Katie for suggesting we meet for dinner at the Mediterranean Restaurant, Balaboosta in NYC. Located in Soho, on a street full of ethnic restaurants, we entered a small cozy dwelling, perfect in size for us to chat and enjoy a meal together. The menu was loaded with great appetizers and main courses, but we couldn't decide on any one item so we ordered many options to share. The flavors were impressive and I knew I needed to dig deeper to find recipes. I easily discovered, Einat Admonay, is a known chef and has written a book based off the restaurant menus (Aside from her recipes, the book is also a fun read). Since my find, I have replicated several of her recipes to create versions I can call my own. One evening I was looking for a new chicken option, using turmeric and cumin. Delighted when I came across her recipe, "Mom's Chicken with Pomegranate and Walnuts", I eagerly attempted to create my own version. I had most ingredients on hand but needed to find a substitute for her original pomegranate jam. For me, finding alternative options in the kitchen is never a problem, and this time was no different. Luckily I had many jars of my homemade fig jam in the fridge and thought this jam would be an interesting replacement for the pomegranate jam! I had fresh pomegranate seeds in the fridge, adding a vibrant touch of color, also boosting the dish with antioxidants. Apart from the delicious flavors, this chicken dish offers so many powerful health benefits!
2 pounds chicken breasts
1 tablespoon kosher or ground salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoon turmeric
3 tablespoons grape seed or olive oil
1¼ cups fig jam, see recipe
1 cup pomegranate seeds, if desired
1-1½ cups walnuts, toasted
pinch saffron threads
1. Cut each chicken breast into thirds and place in a large one gallon ziplock bag. Mix salt, black pepper, cumin and turmeric in a bowl, then sprinkle spices over the chicken making sure all pieces are well covered. Close ziplock bag, massage the spices into the chicken and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
2. Warm a 5-quart pot over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add oil to the pot and carefully add the chicken, browning on all sides. Once the chicken is browned, add the fig jam, walnuts and saffron.
3. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer for 45 minutes. If desired, add the pomegranate seeds and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.