Personally Yours
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Personally Yours

A Fruit of Many Facets

The Washington Star-News, November 20, 1974: When I lived in Coalinga, Calif., I planted a pomegranate tree in my front yard. It never grew much bigger than the size of a large bush — which it resembled — but every summer it brought forth pomegranates in great abundance. My boys loved to break the fruit open and eat the tart seeds. David would make a hole and slurp out the juices, leaving behind a thoroughly drained shell.

The rest that weren’t savored immediately, were saved in the form of jellies and juices.

My mother had given me an old-fashion, crank-style orange juicer. It proved to be the very thing for de-juicing pomegranates. In fact, the only thing. Neighbors from all over Coalinga borrowed that juicer every summer.

I think about my pomegranate tree these days when I see small mounds of pomegranates (at 39 cents each) piled on a produce shelf at the market. And I remember how profligate we were with our yearly harvest. Store-bought pomegranates are far too costly for jelly-making because you need too many. But one pomegranate can be made to go a long way. The red seeds can be used as a bright garnish in salads, are lovely sprinkled over ice cream and give a piquant touch to meat dishes.

Pomegranate Chicken

1 large pomegranate
1 frying chicken, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar

Cut pomegranate in half and ream in orange juicer. Save juice. Rub chicken with salt and pepper and poultry seasoning; brown in a small amount of oil. Transfer chicken to an oven casserole dish. Using a small amount of drippings left in pan, sauté onions and blend in tomato paste. Add remaining pomegranate juice and ingredients. Simmer 15 minutes. Pour over chicken and cover and bake for half hour in 350 oven. Pour sauce from pan and thicken with a little arrowroot or cornstarch mixed in cold water. When dishing out the chicken, put a dollop of the sauce on each serving. And a small dollop of sour cream is an optional but heavenly accent.

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