How to Open a Pomegranate and Pomegranate Chicken Recipe

pomegranate chicken thyme blog size

A great way to get a chicken breast juicy and flavorful is to marinate it, and my new favorite marinade for winter uses pomegranate juice.  I was at the store a couple weeks ago and saw a big 478 oz jug of POM Wonderful on sale for $7!  It’s normally $10 which is still a better deal than $5 for the 16 oz bottle.  I had to buy it and although we did drink it, I’ve made about 6 different recipes with it over the past two weeks.  I also got a box of pomegranates at Sam’s Club for only $4!  As I was checking out the cashier told me she had no idea what a pomegranate was or how to eat one, I know a lot of people feel that way so I’ll also give you a photo tutorial on how to peel and eat a pomegranate.

how to score a pomegranate

You can tell the pomegranate is ripe when the top is kind of splitting open, those are the ones you want to buy at the store.  When you’re ready to peel one, start by just lightly scoring the skin with a sharp knife.  I look for the splits at the top and then follow that line down to the bottom.

how to peel a pomegranate

Next, cut the top off the pomegranate, just a little ways down.  Now here’s the secret to peeling a pomegranate with no mess.   Fill a large bowl with water (I like it a little warm, because my hands get so cold this time of year!), now do all the peeling under the water.  That way, as some of the seeds burst, the juice is in the water, not splashing all over your clothes.  Gently start peeling away the skin, and rubbing the seeds out.  Pull off any pith that’s attached to seeds as they come out of the skin.

peel a pomegranate without mess

The other great thing about peeling the pomegranate in water is that the pith floats to the top!  You can just use a frying skimmer or even your hands to scoop it away.  Then drain the bowl into a colander and you’ve got your pomegranate seeds.  This is such an easy way to peel a pomegranate!

pomegranate seeds

Aren’t those seeds beautiful?  When Eric and I took some to our friends’ house, their 3 year old daughter looked at them with disdain and said “What’s that?”  I whispered excitedly, “They’re pomegranate JEWELS!”  Her eyes got huge!  “They’re jewels that grow inside a fruit, and when you bite one the juice pops in your mouth.”  She suddenly got shy and asked “Can I have a pomegranate jewel?”  She couldn’t get enough of them!  Just make sure to toss any seeds that are colorless or mushy/soft to touch.  They should be plump, red, and beautiful!  The seeds can keep in a container in the fridge for at least a week.

pomegranate seeds chicken

Now, you ready for a recipe?  As I said before the pomegranate juice makes a great marinade for chicken, and although the chicken marinated overnight, cooking time was only 20 minutes!  You could make this with just the pomegranate juice and no seeds, but the pop of the seeds really adds great flavor and texture.  I served this with some dressing and a salad for a VERY FILLING dinner :)  It would be a great main dish for a holiday party, especially at only 65 cents a serving!  If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, they also have their own pomegranate juice you can buy.  You can try squishing the seeds to make your own, but I recommend just buying the juice separately.  Do you have  a favorite pomegranate recipe?  Feel free to share it in the comments!

pomegranate chicken

Pomegranate Chicken

serves 2 with sides

Ingredients

1/4 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup white wine
2 TBS rice vinegar (white vinegar or white balsamic could work too)
1 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 TBS olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp sugar
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 shallot finely chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 sprigs thyme
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Instructions

Put pomegranate juice, wine, vinegar and chicken breast in a quart ziploc bag.  Refrigerate overnight or at least 1 hour.  (I like stabbing the chicken w/a fork a few times to let the marinade absorb more).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Add olive oil to a skillet and heat on medium high.  Reserve the marinade and sear the chicken in the skillet, 2-3 minutes on each side, using tongs to flip it.

If your skillet is oven safe put the whole thing in the oven, if not transfer chicken to an oven safe dish and roast 10-15 minutes, until cooked through.

While chicken is roasting add reserved marinade to a saucepan with chicken broth, sugar, garlic, shallot, and thyme.  Simmer on medium low about 10 minutes, until reduced and thickened.  Slice the chicken and fan out half a chicken breast on a plate.  Spoon sauce over the chicken and top with a sprig of thyme.  Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Approximate cost/serving: Our chicken breasts factor out to 60 cents each, the marinade, sauce, and seeds all come out to around 70 cents total.  It serves 2 so only 65 cents a serving!

Gluten Free: Yes!

Disclaimer: A few days after I bought the pomegranate juice and created some recipes, POM Wonderful contacted me and offered me some free samples of their juice.  Although I have received free juice from them, I am not in any way being compensated for this post and would have written it whether they sent me free samples or not.

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7 Responses to “How to Open a Pomegranate and Pomegranate Chicken Recipe”

  1. Kelly
    December 7, 2009 at 1:41 pm #

    Gorgeous! Your plating makes your chicken look more like duck. I am insanely jealous of your deals. I remember the first time I ever saw a pomegranate was in middle school when someone was eating it as a treat backstage during our performance of Christmas Carol. I got one soon after and remember thinking it was so exotic.

  2. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite
    December 7, 2009 at 3:57 pm #

    T’is the season for POM, huh? I just posted how to open a pomegranate on my blog last week – similar though not quite the same as yours. Love your photos!

  3. Heather Johnson (the Bean hating Sister)
    December 9, 2009 at 11:31 am #

    okay this might be the obvious Question but how do you make the juice? I don’t cook much but between the peeling and the chicken I got lost :(

    • diana
      December 9, 2009 at 11:57 am #

      Ahh great question Heather, the juice is bought separately, it’s the POM. I’ll make that more clear in the post!

  4. Bonnie
    December 16, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

    I have never heard of this way to peel a pomegranate ~ and I eat them a lot ! I am going to give you way a go next time I peel one !!!

  5. Elizabeth Yarnell
    August 28, 2010 at 4:01 pm #

    Hi Diana! Beautiful instructions for peeling a pomegranate – one of my favorite fruits! I have a fun recipe for Piri Piri Pomegranate Chicken you might enjoy.
    I saw that you’ll be speaking at Blogher Food and I look forward to connecting with you there!

  6. Heidi
    January 2, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    Diana — Enjoying your site & helpful tips. For a colorful salad at Christmas dinner, I put down a bed of mixed greens, then added sliced green apple and pomegranate seeds. Topped it off w/ crumbled feta cheese & a raspberry vinaigrette. You could also sprinkle toasted pecans for some extra crunch.

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