Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Persian Walnut Pomegranate Chicken

Persian Walnut Pomegranate Chicken
(Cooking Light, April 2008)

This is absolutly fabulous!!

Based on the Persian dish fesenjan, this streamlined entrée features a sweet-tart sauce of pomegranate juice thickened with ground walnuts. After toasting, cool the nuts completely before grinding.

1 cup walnuts, toasted
8 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (I prefer chicken tenders)
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
Cooking spray
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup pomegranate juice (I could only find a 16 oz bottle - I froze half for another time/recipe)
1 tablespoon tomato paste (love the tubes)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed (a souvenir from Spain)
Dash of ground cinnamon
Cilantro sprigs (optional)

1. Place walnuts in a food processor; process until finely ground (add a teaspoon of flour or you'll get walnut butter before you get "finely ground"). Set aside.
2. Sprinkle chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add half of chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken.
3. Recoat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, ground walnuts, broth, and the remaining ingredients except cilantro, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to 1 1/2 cups (about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally. Return chicken to pan; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.
8 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and about 3 tablespoons sauce or about two tenders) at 299 calories per serving.

Eight servings was way to much for me and halving the reduction sauce was a lot of work (is half a dash a smidgen?) so I made half the chicken and the whole sauce recipe. Before the sauce was fully reduced I took away half of it, freezing it for later use. When I use it, I'll finish the reduction with the chicken.

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