This fragrant chicken dish is loaded with notes of pomegranate, honey, carrots, and apricots — traditional foods served with hope for a sweet and fruitful New Year during the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. According to ancient lore, the amount of seeds in the pomegranate is exactly the same number (613) as the mitzvot (good deeds) found in the Torah (the Jewish Bible). If you’re curious, count away!
- onions - 2 medium, sliced
- baby carrots - 2 cups (or 2 cups peeled and sliced regular carrots)
- whole chicken - 2 (3-1/2 lb/ 1.4 kg each), cut into pieces
- dried thyme - 1 tsp
- kosher salt -
- freshly ground black pepper -
- dried apricots - 1 cup, loosely packed
- pitted prunes - 1 cup, loosely packed
- pomegranate juice - 1/2 cup (or juice of 1 pomegranate)
- garlic cloves - 2, minced
- lemon - 1, juice and rind
- balsamic vinegar - 1/3 cup
- olive oil - 2 tbsp
- honey - 2 tbsp
- Spray a large roasting pan with cooking spray. Scatter onions and carrots in bottom of pan. Rinse chicken well and pat dry with paper towels. Trim excess fat. If desired, remove and discard skin.
- Place chicken pieces on top of vegetables and sprinkle with thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Tuck apricots and prunes between the chicken pieces.
- Whisk ingredients for marinade together in a bowl. (If using the juice of a whole pomegranate, reserve some of the seeds for garnish.) Pour marinade over chicken and sprinkle with paprika. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or for up to 2 days.
- Once the chicken has marinated, preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cook chicken, covered, for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Uncover and cook 30 minutes longer, basting occasionally. Remove from oven and let cool before refrigerating overnight.
- About 30 minutes before serving, remove and discard any congealed fat from chicken. Reheat, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes at 350°F.
- Transfer heated chicken to a large serving platter and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.
* Keeps for 3 days in refrigerator, reheats well. This freezes well for up to 4 months.