Chicken in a pomegranate and walnut sauce

Chicken in a pomegranate and walnut sauce

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy


Quantity Ingredient
1/2 onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 garlic clove
1 chicken, about 1.35 kg
100g walnuts
200ml Brown chicken and veal stock
1 1/4 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
squeeze lemon juice, (optional)
1 teaspoon soft brown sugar, (optional)
1/2 fresh pomegranate
small bunch flat-leaf parsley
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Peel and finely dice the onion. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small saucepan over a low heat, add the onion, cover and sweat until soft but colourless. Peel and crush the garlic.
  2. Joint the chicken into 8 pieces. Heat the remaining oil in a large sauté pan over a gentle heat, season the chicken pieces lightly and place in the pan skin side down in a single layer to render the fat and brown the skin. This can take up to 10 minutes and may need to be done in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Once the skin is brown and crisp, remove the chicken pieces and set aside.
  3. Grind the walnuts in a food processor until fine, but still a little textured.
  4. If necessary, wipe out the sauté pan used to brown the chicken. Transfer the sweated onion to the pan and add the walnuts. Cook over a low to medium heat until the walnuts have darkened in colour and have started to release some of their oils, about 3–4 minutes. Don’t do this over a high heat or the onion and walnuts will scorch. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the stock and pomegranate molasses with some salt and pepper. Return the chicken pieces to the pan, skin side up, and cook gently for 30–40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. Heat the oven to 120°C.
  6. To check that the chicken is cooked, remove the pieces to a plate and cut down to the bone on the non-skin side; the juices should run clear. Trim off the knuckles and any exposed bones from the chicken and keep warm in the low oven.
  7. Taste the sauce and reduce if necessary to concentrate the flavour; a little lemon juice and/or brown sugar can be added to adjust the tartness or sweetness accordingly. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Remove the pomegranate seeds from the pomegranate by holding the halved pomegranate cut side down over a bowl and carefully hitting the pomegranate on the skin side with a rolling pin. Coarsely chop enough parsley leaves to give you 2 tablespoons.
  8. Plate the chicken pieces on a large serving dish and pour the sauce around them. Scatter the pomegranate seeds and parsley over the chicken.


  • The chicken can be served off the bone if preferred. Once cooked, allow the chicken to cool slightly before removing the skin, pulling the chicken from the bones and shredding it into fairly large pieces. Reheat the chicken in the sauce and plate as above.
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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