Monday, December 7, 2009

Food December 2009: The Pomegranate


The Pomegranate, along with the fig and the olive, are to me evidence of a higher power.  They are absolutely perfect in their natural form but can be used in so many ways to celebrate food.  My love affair with the pomegranate started in 2001 when I saw Nigella Lawson cut one open on Nigella Bites on the Food Network.  This weekend, with the holiday parties and open houses beginning, I saw it featured in several ways that got the juices flowing...

As a cocktail served over ice with 1 shot of vodka, 1/3 cup of champagne and and 1/3 cup of POM juice. 

As an hors d'oeuvre served on top of crostini and a small slice of fois gras, see with december 2007 Gourmet magazine to learn a date puree to go with it.

and my favorite straight from Nigella Lawson, with the seeds of 1/2 pomegranate sprinkled over a bowl of fresh hummus and the other 1/2 squeezed fresh juice over the top.

Tip from Nigella - to get the seeds out most effectively, just turn one side upside-down and smack with a wooden spoon on the peel side.  At first nothing will happen but before the minute is up, the seeds start to rain.  My favorite entree this season is a roasted lamb served with a pomegranate demi-glaze.  ENJOY!

6 lb. leg of lamb, bone -in 
1 head fresh garlic, crushed
10 sprigs rosemary, chopped
2 lemons, juiced
2 teaspoons sea salt crushed 
1 teaspoon fresh crushed pepper
 1/3 cup olive oil

In the morning, add the crushed garlic, chopped rosemary, juiced lemon, salt, pepper and olive oil to a ziploc bag and smush it around before adding the lamb.  Let sit in fridge at least 8 hours.  Take out of the fridge to bring to room temp and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the lamb on a roasting rack on the rosting pan and set aside the marinating juices in a bowl.  Place the lamb in the oven and immediately reduce heat to 325 degrees.  It will roast about 2 hours (or 20 minutes a pound).  Approximately every 20-30 minutes, use a couple of tablespoons of the marinating juices to baste the lamb.  I take the lamb out at 150 degrees - or slightly more than medium rare.   Let sit for 5-7 minutes before serving.

As soon as the roast is in the oven, begin the demi-glaze process.  A true glaze can take up to 24 hours, but this short cut version is delicious. 

1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups lamb stock(whole foods, gourmet stores)
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup POM or fresh squeezed pomegranate juice
pinch of salt
pinch of finely ground pepper

On medium heat, heat the oil in a high sided, small saucepan and put in garlic, stirring for 30 seconds.  Add the stock, wine, and juice as well as salt and pepper.  Let come to a simmer and reduce heat to a low simmer.  Watch the sauce reduce by more than 1/2 over 1 1/2 hours until the sauce is thicker - almost a syrup. If after 1 12 hours, you are still runny, turn the heat up, watching carefully Set aside.  

When lamb is ready, slice thinly with a staggered stack and drizzle with the demi-glaze.  Serve.  


  1. One good turn or recipe, deserves another! I noticed in one of your blog posts that you said your daughter sometimes finds meat challenging, so thought she (and you) might enjoy this beef stew (really a tagine) - the beef gets extremely tender, and my daughter loves it! :) Mommy loves it because it is easy and very flavorful!

    1 1/2 lbs beef chuck, cut into chunks
    2 sweet potatoes, 1 inch chunks
    1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
    1 large red onion, cut into wedges
    1/2 cup dried apricots
    1 tsp each of cumin, cinnamon, ginger
    1 15 oz can chickpeas (rinsed)
    2 cups baby spinach
    Couscous for serving.

    Put beef, toms, sweet potatoes, onion, apricots, and spices in slow cooker, cook on high for 4 hours. 5 mins before serving, add chickpeas (just to warm), and spinach (to wilt). Serve with or over couscous. You can top with sliced toasted almonds, if there are no nut allergies in the diners, but it is fine without them too.

    Enjoy! :) Fiona Hornblower

  2. Thanks Fiona! I am thrilled to have someone offer up a recipe - this is what I was hoping for when I started blogging! I will try it this weekend!