Pomegranate Chicken, Mark II

This version comes from Foremost Caterers, by way of the Kosher By Design cookbook.

6 chicken breasts with skin (or 1 chicken cut in eighths)
3 cups pomegranate juice
2 cups pomegranate syrup
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp black pepper
2 tbsp margarine
Seeds of 1/2 large fresh pomegranate (optional)

Combine the juice, syrup, garlic, mint and pepper in a large tupperware container or a ziplock plastic bag. Pierce each piece of chicken with a long skewer several times, and add to the mixture. Marinate chicken in refrigerator at least four hours or overnight; shake bag or turn container every so often.

Preheat your oven to 350o. Remove chicken from refrigerator. Pour off the marinade into a small pot and put it aside. Prepare a large baking pan by spraying it with a very little cooking oil (and, if using fresh pomegranate, scattering about half the seeds evenly over the bottom) and have it ready to hand.

In a frying pan, melt margarine over high heat. Add the chicken skin-side-down (carefully, as the melted margarine may splatter). Sear chicken 4-6 minutes or until skin is crisp and brown. As long as the heat is right, the chicken skin may seem to stick but will release once perfectly seared.

As each piece of chicken finishes searing, remove it from the frying pan to your prepared baking pan. If you are using fresh pomegranate, scatter the remaining half of the seeds over the chicken.

Bake chicken skin-side-up for about 40 minutes, or until cooked through and oozing clear juices when pricked with fork. Meanwhile, boil the marinade over a medium flame for 30 minutes, or until reduced by half and syrupy. Skim to remove any impurities that rise to the surface.

Serve the pomegranate chicken hot with the sauce dribbled over it (or with sauce and pan juices presented in separate gravy boats), accompanied by roast or mashed potatoes, a green salad, and plenty of your favorite bread. Recommended drink: ice water or sparkling white wine.

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