When I started this blog, it was very much a way of recording the recipes I liked, a form of personalised cookbook that I could access anywhere. If I was staying with friends or family, and wanted to cook something for my hosts, I could offer to make a dish I loved and easily find the information to do so.
And my imagined audience for this digital cookbook was both people like me, those who love food and cooking but have neither the time or space for anything complicated, and someone like my sister who not only holds down a full-time job teaching other people’s children, whilst raising her own, but also manages to do a Master’s simultaneously…I mean, who needs spare time?!
When I think about whether an ingredients list, or a method, is WTF-friendly, I think about her coming home from work, with plenty of ‘homework’ for the next day and a family to feed. Which is why I am very fond of dishes like this, which require nothing more than chopping, stirring and a bit of time in the oven. The chicken has to be marinated, which would normally put me off, but not for long and, with two minutes of planning, you can have this on hand for a truly easy, delicious dinner any night of the week. I have made it twice and I’ve found it ideal for shoving in the fridge to marinate on a Sunday, ready to cook with barely another thought on Monday.
You do need a couple of odd ingredients (e.g. pomegranate molasses and seeds but, as I have said before, most supermarkets sell these now and, if not, there’s a thing called the internet…) but once you have those, and a few handfuls of herbs, then this is a perfect midweek, storecupboard-ish solution.
Don’t worry too much if you haven’t got some of the optional ingredients; the first time I made the salad I didn’t have any pistachios or pomegranate seeds and it was just as lovely without them. And, though the recipe uses skinless chicken thigh fillets, which are one of the most overprocessed cuts you can buy, and mad expensive, I have adapted it for normal chicken thighs. I have also cut the recipe exactly in half, so that it feeds two; it is easily doubled for four. This one’s for you, Sharon.
Honey and Co’s pomegranate molasses chicken with bulgur wheat salad (adapted from this bloody marvellous book)
Makes plenty for 2
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
neutral oil (so sunflower, or groundnut), about 1 tbsp
freshly ground black pepper
boiling water, 100ml
olive oil, a splash
green chilli, ½ to 1, depending on how spicy you want it and the size of the chilli
pomegranate molasses, 2 tbsp
chicken thighs, 4
bulgur wheat or couscous, 100g
shelled pistachios, about 25g (optional)
dried mint, 1 tsp
pomegranate seeds, a handful (optional)
fresh mint, a handful
fresh flat-leaf parsley, a handful.
1. Peel and slice the garlic, chop (and if you like, de-seed) the chilli and mix them with ½ tablespoon of sunflower oil, 1½ tablespoons of the pomegranate molasses and some black pepper. Toss the chicken thighs in this mixture, making sure each bit is coated with it, then leave in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours and a maximum of 2 days.
2. When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan-assisted/gas 6.
3. Boil the water, if necessary. Put the bulgur wheat or couscous into a bowl, sprinkle over a pinch of salt and splash over the olive oil. Stir with a fork to mix the grains with the salt and oil (if it looks a little dry after this, I tend to add a bit more oil) then pour over 100ml of boiling water. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for about 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, put the pistachios (if using) into a dry frying-pan and heat until lightly toasted, leave to cool then chop up roughly.
4. Remove the cling film from the bowl, fluff the grain with a fork and test that it is done (if not, add a drop more boiling water, re-cover, re-fluff and re-test as necessary).
5. Add the remaining pomegranate molasses, currants, dried mint, half the pistachios and pomegranate seeds (if using) to the bulgur wheat and stir to mix well.
6. Rinse and chop the fresh herbs and stir into the salad too.
7. Remove the chicken from its marinade (leave any liquid behind), heat a little sunflower oil in an ovenproof frying pan or baking dish, then add the chicken. Season with salt and pepper, then brown all over. Once brown, bake in the oven until cooked through (about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the thighs).
8. Put the salad in two bowls, add the chicken and all its lovely sticky juices and, if using, finish off with the remaining pistachios and pomegranate seeds.