If you want to prepare something absolutely divine, then buy a pomegranate :). Starting with this heavenly fruit, we will make a festive menu, full of flavor, color, ideal for holidays.
Today's recipe is inspired by Jewish tradition to serve a new fruit (pomegranate) at the New Year's Eve table, being considered a fruit of virtue. Inside the pomegranate are about 600 red seeds, full of sweet-sour juice. Jews believe that the seeds of a pomegranate are the symbol of 613 mizvot (biblical laws of Moses) and Rosh Hashana pomegranates consumption has religious implications.
Not only Jews use in their rituals these fruits. Pomegranates are the fruit associated with both mythological underworld (Persephone Odyssey, lured with pomegranate seeds), and the goddess Hera. The pomegranate fruit has always been a mystery, given as offering or used as an instrument of seduction.
The orthodoxy associates the fruit with the Virgin Mary and Jesus, being a fruit often found at meals for Christmas. Greeks decorate their homes with pomegranates, for prosperity, fertility and luck, but use them in rituals for the dead souls to rest dormant.
Double meaning and use of this fruit, its attraction mystery (it is said not to talk about pomegranate), the legends created around the enigmatic pomegranate, make me think that maybe I should stop...
When you cut a pomegranate, a red liquid flows, considered magical life liquor. The pomegranate fruit is complex and attracts you to eat it, but the juicy seeds are wrapped in white membrane that protects them. Clearly it's a "banned" fruit but worth to be discovered and treated as a divine gift.
The antioxidant properties of pomegranate raise it up among the healthiest fruits, ideal for maintaining health.
Pomegranate is ideal for dinners, the ritual starting from opening it, loosening the pomegranate seeds inside and enjoying each obtained seed.
Leaving the mythology and philosophy aside, let's make the recipe.
-1 large pomegranate (pomegranate should appear dusty, waxed, the skin should not be strong red because then it is quite sour)
-salt (I use Himalayan pink salt to remain in the atmosphere of legend)
-"secret" ingredients: honey and dried flower petals (rose of Damascus, cornflowers, marigold, lavender) - to complement the atmosphere of paradise
Put 3 tablespoons of pomegranate essence in a bowl (if you do not have, use pomegranate juice).
Scrape a little lemon over the marinade. Squeeze half a lemon. Sprinkle some salt.
Grind the pepper and add it to the pomegranate marinade. Add a few drops of Tabasco sauce (to taste).
Taste the marinade and match the flavors to your preference. Taste should be sour, spicy. Add the 2 tablespoons of honey (secret ingredient), so that the marinade to be perfect. Honey binds all the flavors and the melted honey aroma overwhelms the senses.
Wash and dry the chicken, rub it with salt and black pepper and then coat it with marinade both inside and outside.
Prepare the final secret ingredient. Flower petals bring a touch of magic to the recipe.
Sprinkle flower petals over the chicken marinade. Note that I designed the recipe as a ritual, to offer a special experience and increase interest in the outcome. It is a game of patience, of the attraction and prohibition.
Allow chicken to marinate, covered with aluminum foil for 4 hours (often spraying it with marinade at intervals of about an hour, or turn it halfway through, so to stay submerged in sauce for at least 2 hours on each side).
Then remove the bowl from the refrigerator and leave it one hour at room temperature before baking.
It's a long wait, but I assure you it's worth.
Before placing in the oven, crush 2 cloves of garlic and put them inside the chicken. The garlic aroma must discreetly penetrate the chicken, but should not change the sauce's taste.
Grease a baking dish with little oil (a tablespoon) and place the chicken in the middle.
Pour marinade and fill with a cup of water.
Cover with aluminum foil and put the tray in the oven at 200 degrees on the bottom level, for an hour.
Then remove the foil, sprinkle with sauce and re-bake until we get a nicely browned chicken. Reduce heat to 160 degrees. Sprinkle frequently with sauce until it's ready.
Loosen the pomegranate in a bowl with water. Water will help break the white membranes and the sweet seeds release.
Add pomegranate berries just before serving. Sprinkle some flower petals, to complete the seductive image of this recipe.
The pomegranate seeds shouldn't be baked; it would be such a pity to lose all the vitamins.
When you cut the chicken you will see how tender it is (pomegranate and lemon tender the meat extraordinarily), juicy and full of flavor.
I know that Jews see pomegranate as a fruit of virtue and does not contradict, but, from my point of view, the experience is more Dionysian :).
The pomegranate juice will discover itself little by little to each burst of the seeds and will offer you a great feeling. Clearly, this chicken will not be eaten, but enjoyed slowly discovering the aromatic bouquet with each bite. The sauce is surprising, slightly spicy to arouse your senses, highly aromatic... The mysterious seduction of pomegranate is guaranteed!
Now there's no need to say that you should prepare a magic atmosphere with candles for this dinner.
Serve with a very fresh salad; colorful and flavorful (add a little chopped mint in the vinaigrette, fresh parsley and basil). You will need a tonic contrast, to bring you back to reality :)
I do not know if pomegranate's role is to make you lose depths of your being or to make you find your inner self...
I do not know if a pleasure so intense ... is divine or not, but I know that once you have tasted a ripe pomegranate, you will always want that sweet, slightly sour, fascinating taste.
If mankind has not solved the mystery of the pomegranate for so many years, if wise men preferred to praise it without trying to find its secret, then we should not go on either ...
However, no human being was and is fascinated by only one feeling...
One feeling can make you vibrate; you lose and find yourself, completely irrational, but your being is governed by its own rules, it enslaves you and doesn't answer the question "Why?"
Is pomegranate "angel and demon"?