|Made with real pomegranate
Rosh Hashana is right around the corner, and we are all excitedly “Rosh”ing to find recipes that incorporate all the beautiful holiday symbols. One of the foods that is nearly synonymous with Rosh Hashana is the pomegranate. Filled with lots of tiny seeds, we say a special “Yehi Ratzon” blessing – “…she’nirbeh ze’chu’yos k’rimon” “…that our merits increase like (the seeds of) a pomegranate*.” It’s always and adventure finding recipes for unusual seasonal produce, and pomegranates are no exception. A few years ago I found a recipe for Pomegranate Chicken in one of my cookbooks. It looked interesting…but it called for pomegranate syrup. I looked around in nearly every local store and couldn’t find it. When I searched online, and asked around, I was told that pomegranate syrup was just concentrated pomegranate juice. Being undaunted by the prospect of making my own pomegranate syrup, I proceeded to boil down pomegranate juice until it was extremely concentrated – then I used it for the recipe. I didn’t love it…it just didn’t have the special flavor I wanted for a Rosh Hashana dish. I started surveying my friends, polling them for their favorite pomegranate chicken recipes. One of my friends incorporated honey into the recipe – I loved that idea, and it was perfect for Rosh Hashana. Then one day, when I was at my local restaurant supply store, I was looking at the flavoring syrups used for mixing drinks. There it was…pomegranate syrup!! It wasn’t the concentrated pomegranate syrup made from actual pomegranates – it was a large bottle of flavored syrup (not a pomegranate to be found in the syrup). Perfect! It was thick, sweet, and had a great (imitation) pomegranate flavor. You can find that type of syrup in the liquor department of your local grocery store. I added that syrup to pure pomegranate juice, added some honey and a few other ingredients for a Pomegranate Chicken marinade. When the chicken was done marinating, I removed it from the liquid, placed it on a baking sheet and put it in the oven to roast. While the marinated chicken was roasting, I added some corn starch to the remaining marinade and cooked it until it thickened for a really delicious really “pomegranety” tasting sauce. Top the chicken with a few fresh pomegranate seeds and you have a beautiful Rosh Hashana main dish!! You can even make this dish ahead, warming the syrup separately and then spoon it over the chicken just before serving. Fabulous!!
Another ubiquitous Rosh Hashana food is apples and honey. You can find more Rosh Hashana recipes in my aish.com article “Apples For Rosh Hashana”. Unfortunately due to space limitations the aish.com published version of the article is an abridged version of the original. I hope that you will enjoy the rest of the article below.
Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!!
- 2 3.25 pound chickens, cut into eighths, skin removed (it’s healthier!)
- 2 cups pomegranate syrup
- 1 cup pure pomegranate juice
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
- Non-stick vegetable spray
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- Fresh pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional)
- Combine the pomegranate syrup, pomegranate juice, honey, garlic, pepper, and thyme in a medium bowl.
- Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Place chicken bone side up in a large casserole, or in an extra large ziplock bag.
- Pour marinade over chicken.
- Cover with plastic wrap, or seal bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375° F or 350° F convection.
- Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then spray with non-stick vegetable spray.
- Remove chicken from marinade, reserving remaining marinade.
- Place chicken bone side up on the prepared baking sheet.
- Spoon a small amount of marinade over the chicken, reserving the remaining marinade.
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Turn chicken bone side down, and bake for an additional 30 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
- While chicken is baking, place marinade in a 4 quart saucepan.
- Add the corn starch and stir until starch is completely dissolved with no remaining lumps. Pour the thickened sauce over the chicken.
- Cook over medium heat until sauce thickens, around 20 minutes.
- Place baked chicken on a serving platter and garnish with pomegranate seeds.
- Serve warm.
“Apples For Rosh Hashana” – the unabridged version
One of the symbols most often associated with Rosh Hashana is the apple. Throughout the Jewish World families are dipping apples in honey and reciting the special Y’hi Ratzon blessing requesting Hashem to renew for us a good and sweet year. When my children were small, they would go on school field trips to pick apples for Rosh Hashana, coming home with large bags of apples. Other years we went as a family to the local orchard around an hour away, where the apples grew low enough for the kids to pick. Expecting a full day family outing we arrived at the orchard excited to pick the fresh, juicy, delicious apples for Rosh Hashana! Each child was given a basket to fill and with much excitement we walked to the apple orchard. Five minutes later we had 17 bushels of apples (I said the apples were low and easy to pick)! Not wanting to discourage our enthusiastic bunch we continued to pick more apples anticipating all the apple gifts we would give to our friends and relatives!! It was a lot of apples! When you have so many apples you have to come up with an assortment of very creative apple recipes…saving a few crunchy, sweet apples to dip in honey!
In keeping with the apple theme of Rosh Hashana I’m happy to share with you some of my best apple recipes! Add a little honey and have a Shana Tova U’metuka – A Happy and Sweet New Year!!
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