Often my friends will ask where I find my recipes. Sometimes I’ve been inspired by a dish I’ve eaten at a restaurant and then will attempt to recreate it at home from the memory of the flavors; other times I’ll wander the market and let the ingredients speak to me. But most often I find a single ingredient that intrigues me and experiment until I come up with a recipe. That’s how this month’s recipe came about.
Several years ago we did a feature about foods that other cultures use to celebrate the holidays, and I assisted the photographer by shopping for the ingredients she was going to photograph. The Sudanese recipe called for pomegranate molasses. I had never heard of it before or had a clue as to where to find it. But after many days of searching, I came across it at an Indian food store in Berkeley. (One of my favorite ways to spend a lazy afternoon is to browse the aisles of small ethnic food stores.)
After the photo shoot, I brought the molasses home and with little clue as to how I would use it, I relegated it to the back of my pantry to collect dust. Until recently when in a pinch, I substituted it for maple syrup in a barbecue sauce I was preparing. Everyone at dinner that night was thrilled by the new sweet and tart sauce I had just created purely by luck. Of course, I wasn’t letting on that it wasn’t planned, but we’ll keep that our little secret. Pomegranate molasses has now become a staple of my pantry and I use it regularly in sauces and glazes for many of my pork and poultry dishes.
BBQ Pomegranate Chicken
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
¼ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon pomegranate
balsamic vinegar (plain balsamic will work in a pinch)
1 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried lemongrass leaves
12 pieces of chicken
In a bowl, combine molasses, ketchup, vinegar, and chipotle pepper. Stir well and set aside. Combine white pepper, salt and lemongrass and sprinkle over chicken. Grill directly over a medium flame for 20 minutes. Turn over and grill for an additional 10 minutes. Baste with pomegranate sauce and cook an additional 5 minutes. Turn over, baste other side, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy.
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