Chicken Thighs with Pomegranate Molasses

The Curry Monster came knocking at my door recently. Does he visit your house too? If I allowed him to, he’d take up permanent residence with me but I don’t think Big Man would be overjoyed. He likes curry, but doesn’t have quite the same love affair with it as I do. Fair enough, two’s company, three’s a crowd! Sometimes I come across a dish like this which presses all the buttons for a curry lover and a curry liker alike. If you’re still with me, I’m sure that makes perfect sense…

The Curry Monster told me that he also fancied the tang of pomegranate molasses. I know, it just gets weirder and weirder. None of my old favourite books could help, so I went a-googling and I came across not only a fabulous recipe (which I adapted a little) but also an amazing blog. Do pop over, there’s plenty to enjoy.

Chicken with Pomegranate Molasses (4)

Ingredients (to serve 2-3 people)

  • 6 chicken thighs, skin on
  • 200mls thick yoghurt/ Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp gram flour/ chickpea flour
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • ½ tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (or less if you want a mild flavour)
  • 110mls pomegranate molasses
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • Salt to taste

Add the gram flour and the yoghurt in a bowl. Mix well to get rid of any lumps to form a thick paste. Next add the ginger and garlic pastes, chilli powder, molasses and the garam masala powder and salt. Add the chicken and mix well making sure to coat them well in the thick marinade. Leave to marinate for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 200c/ Gas mark 6. Line a baking tin with foil and put the chicken and marinade in. Roast for approx 40 mins (until the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced) basting half way through cooking. I found that I had lots of lovely sauce which I love, Big Man less so. I drained the sauce off and gave the meat a further 5 minutes in the oven then served the chicken sprinkled with chopped coriander and the sauce on the side.

Serve with your favourite Indian bread, plain boiled rice and whatever else the Curry Monster tells you to cook.

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Slow Cooked Spiced Lamb Shanks – and some spartan cooking arrangements

So, you know how the cobbler’s children historically had no shoes? Well, the property developing, building and renovating couple currently have a crappy kitchen with no oven in their new home. Can you imagine how that makes me feel? It’s a bit weird though as in Spain I often go the whole summer without turning on the oven, but when you don’t have something all you can think about is that one thing. Here’s a quick glimpse of my current cooking arrangements.

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I am making do for the moment with a small camping sized electric hob, my now well-loved giant slow cooker and an electric plancha. All I want to do is bake cakes and oven roast meat but it’s not to be, for a while at least.

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And just to explain the even more dreadful than usual photos of the finished dish, you can see that I am hardly “blinded by the light” in the kitchen. Boo hoo. But hopefully all this explains why I am posting less recipes than usual!

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A perfect dish to get rid of cooking frustrations is a slow cooked pot of lamb shanks. This can be done just as easily in a low oven, reducing the cooking time to 3-4 hours. You will be rewarded for your patience, whichever method you choose!

Ingredients (serves 2 generously)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp harissa paste
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses (or black treacle)
  • 4 dried apricots, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to season

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Heat the olive oil in a frying pan (or in an ovenproof dish if you are going to oven cook) and brown the lamb shanks all over, then transfer to your slow cooker (or put onto a plate).

Gently fry the onions and garlic until softened then add the spices and tomato and bring to a simmer. Pour in the stock, add the molasses, apricots and season. When it’s bubbling again pour over the lamb shanks in the slow cooker (or add the lamb shanks to the pot), cover and cook on low for about 10 hours until the meat is tender and falling off the bones.

When you are ready to serve (with mashed potato is a good idea), take the meat out and keep warm, pour the sauce into a pan and reduce on a medium heat until thickened to your liking. Pour over the meat and enjoy!

Any leftover sauce is wonderful served over pasta and easily heated up on your camping stove (but do feel free to use a regular one too)!

(Inspired by a recipe from the BBC Good Food site)

Pork Ribs with A Sauce of Pomegranate Molasses

Back in Andalucía, the pig is King, and all things porky  were very much back on the menu when we were there recently.

Ribs looked particularly good at the butcher’s and they sell half racks – a length of ribs but cut in half lengthwise, so they become short ribs.

Confession time – our favourite way to eat ribs is rubbed with some coarse sea salt and simply cooked on the barbecue. However, despite being sunny, there was a Big Wind Up the Mountain so a barbecue was out. Time to switch on the oven and cook them another way.

Ribs with Pomegranate Molasses (2)

Amongst the ingredients that came back with us from England was a bottle of Pomegranate Molasses, used a lot in Ottolenghi’s recipes and a big feature in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. This dish is both boiled then oven cooked, but if you’re in a hurry you could skip the first step and simply oven cook the ribs. Boiling them first does make them very tender and juicy and you also end up with a wonderful stock which you can use later for soup…the choice is yours.

For 2 people

  • About 800g ribs

For the first stage (optional)

  • The juice of an orange, 2 cloves of peeled garlic, 2 bay leaves, a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper and enough water to cover the ribs in a saucepan

For the Sauce

  • 8 tablespoons of tomato ketchup
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of tomato purée
  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
  • 8 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses
  • 4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • half a teaspoon of hot pimentón or chilli powder
  • 4 tablespoons of molasses (or honey)
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce

If you are going to boil the ribs first, put all the ingredients in a pot, bring to the boil and then simmer for about an hour. Remove the ribs from the stock and when they are cool enough to handle (or you can prepare them ahead to this stage) move on to the next stage.

Mix all the marinade ingredients together and pour over the ribs. I put them into an ovenproof dish lined with plenty of foil. Make sure the ribs are well coated in the sauce, wrap them in the foil to form a tent and bake in a medium oven for about an hour and a half.

Serve with plenty of napkins to clean those sticky fingers and faces and enjoy!