Sunday, 24 February 2013

pom molasses pulled chicken

pomegranate molasses pulled chicken slider
i have had pomegranate molasses on my mind. it is essentially pomegranate juice reduced to viscous syrup and is the beloved of middle eastern and mediterranean cuisine. it is sharp, sweet and sour at once and its assertive character makes it a wonderful partner for meats, root vegetables and squash. i love making butternut puree with tahini and garlic adding a swirl of pomegranate molasses and olive oil to finish it. it calms the sweetness of the butternut. when i make a batch of these sweet potato falafel i smear a pomegranate molasses whipped greek yoghurt on the insides of the pita pocket before tucking in the falafel. it is good for breakfast too – think a sliced banana and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses on greek yoghurt.

i first discovered pomegranate molasses by way of khoresht-e-fesenjan. this deep brown-burgundy iranian stew is rich and glossy. the pomegranate molasses is the celebrity ingredient with the walnuts adding an oily richness. the chicken meat usually cooked on the bone is so tender that a mere nudge of the fork causes it to come away from the bone. although easy to make it is a stew that asks for vigilance. there are few things that are worse than burnt nuts and only persistent stirring will prevent them from doing so. 

this recipe for pulled pomegranate pulled chicken was born from a craving for pomegranate molasses and the desire to cook something that asks for little attention. the chicken meat is slow-cooked in a barbecue-esque sauce inspired by southwestern barbecue classics like brisket but using pomegranate molasses as the star of the show. it took me ten minutes to make the sauce after which i tucked the boneless chicken thighs into it, put a lid on my casserole dish and forgot all about it for two hours. i checked on it once but merely out of curiosity for how it is was progressing. whatever you do, do not attempt this pulled chicken with breast meat. it will be dry. i got free-range chicken thighs and asked my butcher to debone and skin them. this makes it easy to spread them out a bit like you would a spatchcocked chicken. make sure to get the bones packed, as they will make a good chicken stock. 

this pulled chicken offers endless possibilities. pile it into large lettuce leaves, add a bit of roasted garlic cream cheese and some tomatoes, tuck it into tacos with a black bean salad and guacamole or make large sized sliders with red cabbage slaw and smashed avocado (that is how we ate ours). you could make a pulled chicken and avocado tartine too. 

pomegranate molasses pulled chicken
{pomegranate molasses pulled chicken} 

a scant pour of olive oil 
a small white onion, finely sliced 
two plump cloves of garlic, chopped 
eighty ml tomato paste 
one hundred and twenty ml pomegranate molasses 
two tablespoons water 
sixty ml soy sauce 
one teaspoon honey 
one teaspoon ground cumin 
one teaspoon red chilli flakes 
one teaspoon sumac 
two tablespoons worcestershire sauce 
six deboned and skinned chicken thighs 

use a casserole or heavy bottomed pan with a well fitting lid. this is essential as the chicken has to cook slowly and for at least two hours. you do not want it to stick to the bottom of the casserole. 

start by softening the onion on low heat. it should not catch colour but just turn translucent (around ten minutes). then add the garlic. once again let this soften without catching colour. the garlic should lose its aggression. 

turn the heat to as low a setting as possible. if you have a ceramic electric stove i used the third setting. add the rest of the ingredients and stir them to make sure that the sauce is fully integrated. now add the chicken thighs making sure they are fully coated with the sauce and spread to their full surface area. 

put the lid on your casserole dish and almost forget about it for the next two hours. that is the minimum cooking time. you might need to play around with stirring the chicken and the timing based on your stove. to test the chicken for doneness use a fork to pull at it. if it comes away in thin shreds without difficulty it is done. if not continue to cook it to that point. 

once it is ready let it cool slightly before pulling it. you will need two forks for this. position them so that they are in opposing directions and then use a pulling action. the chicken meat should shred into strands.


  1. This looks amazing - I am printing the recipe off. Thanks for sharing!

  2. You are most welcome! By the way I love the pseudonym Caked Crusader. Very innovative!

  3. Looks amazing m! I was already drooling over the instagram pics, so glad to see you posted the recipe the day after. Good one, have finally got hold of some pomeganate molasses for another recipe a whole ago, so may just try this very soon x

  4. Looks amazing m! I was already drooling over the instagram pics, so glad to see you posted the recipe the day after. Good one, have finally got hold of some pomeganate molasses for another recipe a whole ago, so may just try this very soon x

  5. thanks shu han. i just turned the leftover bones into stock! love meals that stretch themselves. i love pom molasses. such a versatile ingredient. i added it to a beetroot and cashew spread tonight. would love to hear from you when you make it.

    m x

  6. A wonderfully Middle Eastern take on a Southern favourite! I love this idea, I am sure the pom molasses really add a lovely depth of flavour. Gonna try this next time instead of my usual BBQ pulled chicken.


  7. Wow, looks and sounds amazing. I love pom molasses.