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Spicy Pomegranate, Rose, and Sumac Chicken

I’ve wanted to play with pomegranate molasses for a while, but I kept forgetting to put it on the shopping list. And then finally once I got through a huge 6-week deadline, I told myself a bottle of that would be a little treat for myself. (And Jedd too, because he calls himself my “personal assistant,” when I’m crazed in the kitchen. We both deserved a little treat. Him more so, because he did all the dishes.) And so, on the kitchen chalkboard “pomegranate molasses” went in huge letters. Finally.

When Jedd got home with the groceries, he announced that not only had he grabbed the molasses, he also found rosewater right next to it.

“It just seems like something you’d like to play with.”

Pardon my French, but um, “Hell, yeah.”

I greedily tasted both of them, and the molasses tasted the way I expected it to. But the rose water blew my mind, it was really clean and tasted nearly – spicy. It danced on my tongue the was that Sichuan peppercorns do.

That sensation made me think to add some cayenne to the marinade, and of course sumac wasn’t far behind because that’s my other new obsession.

And they all came together for a quick and easy weeknight meal.

So, if you have these fun ingredients kicking around in the pantry – give this recipe a shot. I think you’ll really love it. It’s bright, sweet, spicy, and has a kiss of lemon.

Spicy Pomegranate, Rose, and Sumac Chicken

Serves 2.


¼ cup + 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons rosewater

1 teaspoon cayenne

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon lemon pepper

1 tablespoon sumac

1 (1 ½ lbs.) bone-in chicken thighs

2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds


In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup molasses, 1 tablespoon olive oil, tomato paste, lemon juice, rosewater, cayenne, salt and pepper.

Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag, and pour mixture over it. Work the bag with your hands so that all of the chicken are coated.

Marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Fit a 9×9 baking pan with parchment. Add the chicken to the pan, and bake for 30-40 minutes or until it registers 165 degrees.

In a small bowl whisk together the remaining molasses and olive oil. Brush the mixture on the cooked chicken.

Garnish with pomegranate seeds and parsley, and serve.

(Photos by Launie Kettler)

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