Pomegranate molasses chicken with bulgar wheat salad (Honey & Co: Food from the Middle East)

Ever since I successfully made the Peach and goats cheese salad from their first book recently, I’ve been desperate to try some other recipes from the duo behind Honey & Co. Everything in the book just looks so so delicious, but I kept flicking back to their recipe for pomegranate molasses chicken with bulgar wheat salad. Chicken thighs marinated in a little oil, some garlic, green chilli and pomegranate molasses, This is right up my street. I love the sharp stickiness of pomegranate molasses whether generously spooned over a salad or used to marinate meat like this.

The actual recipe for the aforementioned pomegranate molasses chicken with a side salad of bulgar wheat, actual pomegranate seeds, currants and herbs. For a dish that packed so much flavour, it was a dream to prep. The recipe recommends marinating the skinless, boneless chicken thighs for 2-48 hours, I settled on about 18, but for this time, the chicken just sat in its sour bath, absorbing flavour. I made the salad a few hours before, soaking the bulgar wheat in boiling water for 5 minutes while I made the simple dressing. The only change I made to the salad was leaving out the pomegranate seeds. Sue me. I guess pomegranates aren’t in season because they were small and expensive. I was making another side salad that required pomegranate so I decided that the currants would suffice as a sole fruity addition to the bulgar wheat.

Pomegranate molasses chicken with bulgar wheat salad Honey & Co
Frankly, another superlative salad from the geniuses at Honey & Co.

When the time came, the chicken was flash fried for 2 minutes each side, until golden, the pan then transferred to the oven for 12 minutes to cook through. (In the 1990s we were constantly warned about salmonella in chicken, rendering me permanently wary of frying larger bits of chicken in case some doesn’t cook through. Finishing the thighs in the oven definitely eased this anxiety. I’m exactly the same with sausages too. That was all the cooking for the whole dish of pomegranate molasses chicken with bulgar wheat salad; save for a final sprinkle with pistachios and some of the reserved mint and parsley. With a possible nut allergy (although yet to do any actual medical tests), I made my usual substitute of sunflower seeds in lieu of nuts. Less green and pretty maybe, but they provided a welcome crunch. 

Pomegranate molasses chicken with bulgar wheat salad Honey & Co
I only want to eat chicken that’s marinaded in pomegranate molasses from this day forward. Look at the gorgeous colour of it!

This dish was wonderful. A minute criticism? I found the bulgar wheat salad a little too sweet maybe, maybe too many currants? N.B. These weren’t just currants, these were Marks and Spencers’ Vostizza Currants. It could also be because I was missing a key sour component in the pomegranate seeds to balance the sweet – my bad. That said, when combined with the fresh shirazi salad (with the pomegranate seeds) it was a perfect balance. The pomegranate molasses chicken was delicious too. Its refreshing getting such a good result for so little outlay of effort. A balance of savoury, sour and sweet – caramelised and golden but tender inside.

Aside from the marinade, the dish came together so easily that I can foresee this Pomegranate molasses chicken with bulgar wheat salad becoming a regular weeknight dinner or informal dinner party. Special, but not extravagant. 

Pomegranate molasses chicken with bulgar wheat salad Honey & Co
The sour sticky chicken plated up with the fresh shirazi salad on the side