In 2010 I hosted a Eurovision party for my friends that has become somewhat legendary. Though sadly it has nothing to do with the delicious food, great atmosphere and our united (yet vain) hopes of a UK victory. I wish… Rather, everyone who was there remembers it because of how drunk I got. I can’t say I remember much after the opening Eurovision theme music if I’m honest. It really was that bad. I was suitably punished with a monstrous hangover that lasted for three days… Never again.

It was entirely self-inflicted, so I’m not seeking sympathy. But I felt it necessary to bring it up as that night has a distant link to this recipe for Pomegranate Chicken with Bulgur Wheat.

Back to 2010. Never one to miss the chance to show off in the kitchen I set myself a bit of a catering challenge. In hindsight it was idiotic, but at the time it seemed like a bit of fun. I promised my guests that I would serve a dish inspired by every country performing in that year’s Eurovision Grand Final. All 25 of them… I’m getting a cold sweat just thinking about it!

Some of them were pretty obvious: Belgian Chocolate Mousse, Tortilla Española and Grilled Bratwürste among them. But what to do for the less well-known national cuisines? What’s the national dish of Denmark? (I cheated a little and made open sandwiches in the style of Smørrebrød, if you’re wondering).

It was around the shores of the Mediterranean that I found some of the most intersting dishes for the menu, some of which I’ve come back to time and time again. It was my Turkish entry that links back to this recipe: Kısır.

It’s a wondefully fragrant salad of bulgur wheat mixed with fresh tomatoes, plenty of herbs and a mixture of spices. The dressings vary but commonly contain a mixture of lemon juice and pomegranate molasses, which bring with them a sour-yet-fresh flavour. Oh and it’s generally served as part of a meze selection – with lots of other dishes to accompany it. Great when you have friends round, less so when it’s just the two of you.

That being said I think it makes a great side for griddled meats or hard cheeses, like halloumi. Here I’ve paired it with chicken that has been marinaded in a similarly flavoured mixture of lemon, pomegranate and cumin. Though the flavours are similar they complement each other perfectly and the sweet-sharp taste of the pomegranate molasses permeates every mouthful.

If you’re not a fan of bulgur wheat – or are yet to be convinced – try making this dish as I am certain you’ll become a convert.


Pomegranate Chicken with Bulgur Wheat

Inspired by the Turkish dish, Kisir, this flavoursome bulgur wheat salad topped with griddled pomegrante-infused chicken is a proper taste of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chicken
Servings: 2

Ingredients

For the Chicken

  • 2 tbsp Pomegranate Molasses
  • 1 Lemon juiced and zested
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Chicken Breasts

For the Bulgur Wheat

  • 120 g Bulgur Wheat cooked per packet instructions
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Red Onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • ½ tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Purée
  • 4 Salad Tomatoes peeled, deseeded and chopped
  • ½ Cucumber deseeded and chopped
  • 2 Spring Onions finely sliced
  • Handful Mint Leaves chopped
  • Handful Parsley chopped
  • 1 Lemon juiced and zested
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Pomegranate Molasses

To Serve (Optional)

  • 2 tbsp Soured Cream or Crème Fraîche
  • 1 tbsp Pomegranate Molasses

Instructions

Marinate the Chicken

  • Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl or zip-lock bag, ensuring that they’re well combined. Add in the chicken breasts and mix until they’re well coated. Put into the fridge to marinate for at least an hour, but preferrably longer.

Prepare the Bulgur Wheat

  • Start by cooking the bulgur wheat according to the instructions on the pack. When cooked, drain well. As different brands have different instructions I’m not going to specify a cooking time here. 
  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 10-15 minutes until softened and tender. Add the garlic and fry for an additional minute until fragrant. 
  • Sprinkle over the cumin and chilli flakes, then stir into the onion mixture and fry for a further minute or so to allow the flavours to develop. Then mix in the tomato purée.
  • Add the cooked bulgur wheat to the pan and stir well until all grains are coated with the onion and tomato mixture. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl and allow to cool slightly.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions, parsley and mint to the bulgur wheat and stir to combine. Mix the lemon juice, olive oil and pomegranate molasses together separately to create a dressing, then pour this over the bulgur wheat. Give it one final stir then put to one side until ready to serve.
  • If you’re making this in advance you can store it in the fridge in a covered bowl overnight, but do bring it back to room temperature before serving.

Cook the Chicken

  • Heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off any excess. As the marinade contains oil you shouldn’t need to add oil to the pan, but do use a little if you feel it’s needed.
  • Gently lower the chicken into the pan and griddle for 5-7 minutes on each side, until cooked through and golden. Turn regularly to avoid burning, as needed.

Serve

  • Divide the bulgur wheat between two serving bowls. Top with the chicken breasts and then garnish with the optional soured cream and pomegranate molasses.

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