In a world … where all the food known to humankind is replaced by fruit…
… my movie-voiceover voice would still need work. But as a person who could go fruitarian for a couple of days on accident and not notice (not hypothetical–I’ve done this), I would probably be happier than most.
Honestly, when staring at a package of chicken come dinnertime, pretty much all I ever want to do is grill it (summer) or roast it (cooler months), and top the whole thing with seasonal fruit. What you see above is me giving in to my whims… And also giving in to brighter-than-bright, juicy pomegranate.
This dish looks like it tastes straightforward and simple, but a good chutney never is, flavorwise. Ideally it tastes like everything all at once: spicy, savory, sweet, and tangy. The preparation part, though, is as uncomplicated as can be.
The chicken here is a simpleton in both respects… And it’s wonderful that way. The most amateur of cooks can’t go wrong here. Trust me: 50% of the time, I’m right all the time.
I don’t push “easy” or “quick” recipes around here very much, honestly. I cook easy, and I cook complicated. I cook quick, and I also cook time-consuming. I cook healthy, and I cook “screw it, we’re all going to die anyway.” I love it all equally.
But in this case, I think the ease and simplicity of this is worth mentioning. Everything you see here? Just throw it together and cook it. Boom: chutney.
The chicken part is even more effortless. Really, all that is required to make fantastic roast chicken (the dead-simple Thomas Keller way) is knowing how much salt and pepper to put on your food. There is no more trustworthy expert in the world when it comes to your food than you. Not stroking your ego, by the way… Them’s just the facts.
Look at it. Seriously, this involved a mere seconds’ worth of prep time.
If your chicken is patted dry very well and salted on the generous side of things, crispy skin will be yours. Moisture = enemy of your crispy chicken skin aspirations.
Less than an hour later, you’re ready to go. Look at this plate. Is she pretty or is she pretty? Maybe it’s Maybelline, but maybe you just made a killer meal. It looks like Christmas, but tastes like, well, November 19th. And there’s no reason not to make November 19th, 20th, 21st, etc. as awesome as you want it to be. So…. You know. Do it.
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or 2 leg quarters
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 3 cups pomegranate seeds (from two pomegranates)
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dried tart cherries (or golden raisins)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 serrano pepper, minced (use half and/or remove seeds for a milder chutney)
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Small handful fresh cilantro, for serving
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- If you're still rinsing your chicken (and you shouldn't!), pat it dry very well with paper towels. Trim the chicken of any excess skin/fat and season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Roast in a baking dish or cast-iron skillet for 45-55 minutes, until skin is crisp and golden brown.
- To make the chutney, heat cumin seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat until fragrant and toasted. (Alternatively, you could just use 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin and skip this step–just throw it in with everything else.) Add the next 9 chutney ingredients and cook for 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the chutney is thickened. Set aside–you can use this hot or at room temperature.
- Serve chicken topped with the chutney (the recipe makes enough chutney to serve four, really, so you'll probably have extra if you're serving two) and cilantro. Rice would be nice also.