crispy skin chicken // farro and pomegranate salad

This draws heavily on middle eastern flavours: cardamon, clove and cinnamon for the chicken, and pomegranate, feta and pistachios for the salad. Make sure you baste the chicken as it is cooking. It makes all the difference crisping up the skin and gets all the spice flavours into the meat.


for the chicken
1 medium sized chicken maryland
per person (about 300g) skin on
1 cinnamon quill
10 – 15 cardamon pods
10 cloves
1 teaspoon of honey
salt (for seasoning)

for the salad (approx 4 people)
1 cup uncooked farro
1 pomegranate
handful of pistachios
200g fetta
handful of picked parsley leaves
handful of picked mint leaves
zest of half a lemon
splash of red wine vinegar
good olive oil for dressing

Preheat oven to 180° celsius. Cook farro in plenty of salted boiling water (farro takes a while to cook. Like 20 minutes or something, so best get it on early). You want to keep it firm and poppy, not hard (undercooked) or mushy (overcooked), so keep checking it as you are doing everything else.

Heat some oil in a shallow oven proof frying pan big enough to hold all the pieces of chicken in one layer. Break up the cinnamon quill and gently fry with the cardamon pods and cloves. Score your chicken marylands deeply where the flesh is thickest and rub them all over with a pinch of salt. Scoring speeds up the cooking time and allows the flavours to really penetrate the meat. When the spices are fragrant, place the chicken skin side down and fry for a few minutes until it starts to go crispy. Turn it once and brown the underside briefly while you stuff as much of the spices into the scores on the chicken as you can. Add a teaspoon of honey to the pan and put it in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked. About halfway through, start basting the chicken skin with the honey-juice. Repeat three or four times until the chicken is cooked. Keep remaining honey-juice for later.
chickenpomegranatecloseup3 chickenpomegranatecloseup2
While the chicken is cooking, remove the seeds from the pomegranate by chopping in half and bashing it over a bowl (there are lots of ways to deseed a pomegranate but this way will allow you to keep all the juices for the dressing later). Toast the pistachios briefly and place in a big bowl with the pomegranate seeds, chopped mint and parsley. Make a dressing with the lemon zest, red wine vinegar, oil and pomegranate juice. When the farro is cooked, drain and allow to cool a bit. Add to the salad and mix everything together. Plate the salad on a sharing platter scattered with crumbled fetta. Top with pieces of chicken, drizzle with the remaining honey-juice and serve.
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