Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pom-Pear Chicken over Spinach

Pomegranates are on special this week in my grocery, so I purchased a couple to play with. As I've mentioned before, they are a super fruit! The arils (seeds) are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, fiber and phytochemicals that can heal your body from within. Although they're a culinary adventure to eat fresh, pomegranates can be juiced and used in cooked recipes, as well. As in this savory dish, they can be combined with other mild tasting fruits, such as pear, which only enhances the best qualities of both.

I consider this a main dish salad because the spinach is fresh and uncooked. Pile it high on your serving plate then top with the warm chicken and sauce. It will only slightly wilt the spinach, so you'll be sure to get all the nutrients from this delicious green, including calcium, vitamins A, C and K, beta-carotene and folate. This dish is practically wearing camouflage--your family will have no idea how healthy it is!

Pom-Pear Chicken over Spinach
(Serves 2)

1 pomegranate
two (4 oz.) boneless and skinless chicken thighs (all visible fat removed)
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
2/3 cup chicken stock
1 pear, peeled and chopped into small chunks
1 tablespoon seedless all-fruit raspberry jam
3 cups baby spinach leaves

1. Cut the pomegranate, not in half, but at the 1/3 mark (so one piece will be 2/3 of the fruit and the other piece will be 1/3). Take the 2/3 side and using a citrus juicer, juice the pomegranate until all the arils (seeds) have been drained of their juice. If necessary, strain the juice of pits or flesh and set aside. You should have approximately 1/3 to ½ cup juice. From the remaining piece, carefully spoon the arils into a small bowl: set aside.

2. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a skillet on medium-high and cook the chicken until browned on both sides and almost cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side. Meanwhile, divide spinach leaves between two serving plates and set aside.

3. Add the shallot to the pan and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add the vinegar, reserved pomegranate juice, chicken stock and stir to loosen any brown bits from bottom of pan. Cook for a few minutes until slightly reduced. Add the pear and jam and continue to cook until jam is melted and the liquid has reduced and thickened into a nice sauce.

4. Place a piece of chicken on top of each pile of spinach. Divide and spoon sauce evenly over chicken, allowing the sauce to spill onto the spinach. Over each serving, sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of the reserved pomegranate arils and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information per serving: 274.5 calories, 29.3 g carbohydrate, 10.3 g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 3.9 g fiber, 16.9 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

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