A pomegranate cart in Istanbul…one of my favorite sights ever.
Based on my lack of recent posts, it is obvious that my kitchen and I have been in a bit of a noncollaborative mood as of late. But as we all know, nothing changes unless you take charge and make it change. So, I’ve dug deeply searching for inspiration, innovation, and imagination. I hope I’ve once again found it. Stay tuned…here’s to taking a pause in the kitchen as in travels; let’s just call it a layover! But here’s as link to my favorite pomegranate chicken recipe, inspired by my first trip to Istanbul a few years ago!
Our puffy travel faces with the gorgeous Blue Mosque as the main feature.
This very day last year, the don and I (and a couple of very special friends!) were on a three day layover in Istanbul on our way home from a fabulous trip to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
Our fantastic friend and guide Riza, bidding farewell.
And Peg departing from the fabulous Four Seasons Sultanahmet (Old City…think Constantinople!)
Tales of the Unexpected! Remember that my fam and I were in Istanbul this past October. Well, our first night there, we were having a perfectly peaceful dinner of curried chicken and other things curry at the magnificent restaurant 360°, enjoying our view of…you guessed it, 360 degrees of Istanbul. And out of the darkness, this creature starts climbing along the walls, and then slinking around the floor. Um hum. Suspended Moments in Time. Even rendered my dear son-in-law speechless for a millisecond; and that ain’t easy (written with true affection!) But back to the food. I entrust you with this marvy recipe. Please take care of it. And enjoy it in good health. Serefe! (you know, Turkish for Cheers).
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs curry powder
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t grated ginger root
1/2 t white sugar
1/2 can diced tomatoes
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup coconut milk
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.
Add onion and garlic; turn heat to medium low; sauté for 2 minutes.
Add curry, cinnamon, ginger, sugar, tomatoes, yogurt, and milk.
Stir until well combined.
Add chicken pieces and bring to a boil.
When mixture boils, turn heat to medium low.
Cover skillet and cook 10 to 12 minutes, turning a few times.
Turn heat off and stir all ingredients.
Leave skillet on hot burner 6 to 8 minutes.
To serve, place bed of rice on plate.
Top with 2 chicken strips, half on and half off rice bed.
Drizzle with pan sauce.
Garnish with chopped cilantro.
Old Town Istanbul, October, 2013
Admittedly, I am more than slightly obsessed with pomegranates. My family will attest that I verged on the side of obnoxious while in Istanbul this past October. But in my defense…there WERE fresh pomegranate carts all over the old towne (Constantinople!) I just wanted to bite right into one, almost did as a matter of fact! Proof you ask; well here ’tis! So this recipe in the new issue of Cooking Light jumped off the page at me. Tweaked it last night to suit our taste buds and haven’t been that delighted with a new entree in a long time! So, spreading the love is what I’m doing. Pomegranate season lasts another 6 or so weeks; so race on down to your local grocer and whip this up. At a mere 458 calories per serving, who can turn this down?! Licking my lips again!
3 cups low fat, low sodium chicken broth, divided
1 cup uncooked long cooking rice
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
1 Tbs chopped fresh thyme
3/4 t salt, divided
1 1/4 t cracked pepper, divided
1 1/4 cup pomegranate juice, divided
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
1 Tbs olive oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine 2 cups chicken stock, rice, onion, and thyme in medium saucepan.
Bring to boil.
Cover and simmer 15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.
Remove from heat.
Stir in half of the salt and pepper.
Combine remaining 1 cup chicken broth and 1 cup pomegranate juice in small saucepan.
Bring to boil.
Reduce and simmer 16 to 18 minutes, until reduced to 1/2 cup.
Remove from heat and stir in arils.
Add olive oil and remaining 1/2 cup pomegranate juice to skillet.
Turn heat to medium high.
Salt and pepper chicken.
Add to skillet.
Cook 4 minutes til browned on one side.
Turn chicken over.
Place in oven.
Bake 8 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to rest 4 minutes.
Slice each breast on diagonal into 4 or 5 strips.
Spoon a bit of rice onion mixture onto plate.
Place sliced chicken half on and half off rice.
Pour pomegranate mixture over chicken and rice.
Serves 4 to 6.
Yesiree, we just returned from Istanbul “not Constantinople”. (More on the trip coming soon; this is just to whet that appetite!) The Spice Market was spectacular. It was extremely difficult not to just pack up an entire kiosk and run away with everything. The curries were particularly beautiful…proof is in the pics! Consumed quite a bit of that Asian influence spice while we were there, and talked the chef at Tugra Palace into sharing this one with me, best I could understand his heavily accented English that is. But hey, I don’t speak ANY Turkish!
1 lb cleaned shrimp
3 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/4 t salt
Dash cayenne pepper
1 Tbs curry powder
3 t ketchup
1/4 cup sherry
In a large skillet make a sauce over low heat whisking together the butter, flour and milk for approximately 3 minutes.
Stir in salt, paprika, pepper, and curry and continue to cook, stirring constantly until mixture is thick and smooth.
Add ketchup, sherry and shrimp.
Turn heat to medium and continue to cook with lid on until shrimp is cooked, approximately 4 to 5 minutes, turning often.
Place a mound of rice on each of 4 plates.
Spoon shrimp and sauce on top of rice.
Garnish with parsley.
It is S.A.T.U.R.D.A.Y…Get your monkey mode on! I did recently. My family of five (including moi!) just returned stateside from a two week “monkeying around” holiday through Istanbul, Dubai, and Santorini. Here’s proof! I know. This is a gorilla, perhaps King Kong; but you appreciate the expression, right! More on this trip in the weeks to come, including very fab recipes and photos of divine food! Can’t wait to share. p to the s…did i mention that this was snapped at 5:30am waiting for transport to Dubai airport? too peppy?