Monday, November 15, 2010

POM Wonderful Dinner Party Recap 4: The Main Event...Moroccan-Spiced Chicken with Fall Pomegranate Pilaf

Happy Monday!! As promised, I'm back to share more details and recipes from last week's POM Wonderful Dinner Party! I'll give you all the details and the recipe for my yummy main dish: Moroccan-Spiced Chicken with Fall Pomegranate Pilaf shortly. But first, I want to share another quick party tip: having an awesome dinner party doesn't have to cost a fortune. You can have a great time without breaking the bank...

With the holidays coming up, I didn't have a ton of extra money to spend, but I wanted to make a great impression on my guests! The nice folks at POM Wonderful sent me two boxes full of pomegranates plus coupons for five free bottles of POM juice to use for my dinner menu and decor. I wanted to plan a dinner that was high on flavor, but low on cost. I also wanted the decor to be inexpensive. Thanks to smart shopping and borrowed items from family, my total out-of-pocket expense for this multi-course meal? Less than $100!!

 Dollar Tree was a great source of inexpensive items for my party. I found some cute red square ramekins to serve my sorbetto + a clear platter and vase for $6. I used the platter and vase to serve my amuse bouche bites -- I filled the base with ruby-red arils to carry the pomegranate theme and rested the platter on top!

My sister in law loaned me some Fiesta scarlet serving pieces, some lovely blue and gold linens from Persia, and some cute red mini flower vases. I designed and printed my framed menu card and the place cards for each setting at the table. Red happens to be my favorite color, so I used a hodgepodge of decor from around my house...and lots of pomegranates and arils. Here's a candle that I had burning on my bar.

So don't have to spend a fortune to throw a fun party! My menu relied on in-season produce, items from the bulk section of my favorite grocery store, and economical chicken breast. The food I served was full of flavor, and my guests really enjoyed trying pomegranates in various forms. My main dish featured pomegranate molasses in the tangy reduction that I spooned over the pan-roasted chicken breasts and pomegranate arils in the rice pilaf.

Moroccan-Spiced Chicken w/Fall Pomegranate Pilaf
Pilaf adapted from Chef POM Wonderful

Step 1:  Make the spice rub for the chicken by combining the following ingredients in a small bowl:
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 3/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
Rub three boneless, skinless chicken breasts with the spice mixture on both sides. Refrigerate while you get the rest of the ingredients going.

Step 2:  Boil 2 cups water, salt, and a bit of olive oil in a saucepan. Add 1 cup rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes. 

Step 3:  While the rice is cooking: core and chop 1 small apple, 1 stalk celery, and 1/4 purple onion. Add a bit of olive oil to a small non-stick skillet. Saute the veggies and fruit for five minutes. 

Step 4:  Add 1 tbs. olive oil to a large non-stick skillet. Sear chicken breasts until browned on both sides. 

Place the skillet in a preheated 375 oven for 15 minutes. 

Step 5:  When the rice is cooked, add the sauteed fruit and veggies.

Add 1/2 cup pomegranate arils, 1/3 cup craisins, 1/3 cup golden raisins, and 1/3 cup chopped pistachios. Stir to combine, and place the pilaf on an oval serving platter.

Step 6:  Take the chicken out of the oven and place on top of the pilaf. Add 2 tbs. pomegranate molasses to the spicy drippings in the pan. Combine over medium heat until thick and bubbly.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

This dish is bursting with flavor! The Moroccan seasoning is great combination of spices...a little hot, a little spicy -- but it's NOT overwhelming! The pilaf compliments the flavors of the chicken very well. The sauteed apple and dried fruits are the epitome of fall flavors. Come back for one last recap post later this week...where we have our happy ending: Pomegranate-Port Sorbetto & Pomegranate Cake with Pomegranate-White Chocolate good that it's worth the wait!!!


  1. Cool party tips! I love the idea of using stuff from around the house! I always end up buying a bunch of stuff and regretting it. That Moroccan Chicken dish looks delicious, by the way. :)

  2. Oh my God, I loooooooooooooooove Moroccan food and I would have to try to be a very nice and ladylike not to scarf the whole thing down in less than 5secs if I were a guest. Man how do I miss the dollar store!!! Great tips Wendy!

    ALSO thanks to all of your pomegranate tips, I bought some POMs Pomegranate juice to incorporate into my Thanksgiving menu. Your posts made me hungry and got me thinking how to add a new spin to my turkey day menu. You're great at selling a product! Best of luck with the contest!

  3. Wow! The chicken looks succulent, Wendy, and I love the rice! You and Michael threw an awesome party!

  4. @Koci - The party fell when most of my monthly bills are due, so had to get creative and think a bit outside the box! Luckily, poms needed to feature prominently in the decor...and I had two boxes of 'em to work with!

    @Sommer - I can't WAIT to see how you incorporate pomegranates into your Thanksgiving next week!

    @Louanne - This rice would be great with pork tenderloin too. We really like it...every bite is a different flavor combo!!

  5. This looks stunning, Wendy! What an evening you must have had. You did an amazing job, and I was drooling over that chicken. I loved seeing the main course, but I can't wait to see that cake! Thank you for sharing, love.

  6. Wow, Wendy, that chicken and the rice pilaf are making me drool at 9 in the morning! I could really go for your delicious cooking any time of day! Thanks so much for sharing all about your dinner party... Can't wait to see what's next!

  7. Thanks for the love, gals...I just hope I'm not POM-ing everyone out!! One more POM post, then I'm going to share a beef & barley soup recipe before turning my attention to Thanksgiving!

  8. WOw where to start, everything looks delicious! Moroccan food is great and so are your recipes.

  9. Moroccon chicken is a huge favorite of did an outstanding job of it. Love the recipe, and the photos, also the rice with the fruits, the sweet potatoes...the decorations. You're also very resourceful by using the beautiful things from your sister-in-law.
    Thanks for sharing, Wendy!

  10. @Elisabeth - Thanks for the kind compliments! I had a great time planning my POM party and hope that my posts convey that! My budget required me to think a bit outside the box for decor ideas that didn't cost a lot. It all came together pretty nicely...

  11. I just love the Moroccon Chicken you have prepared, with all the great spices....

  12. oh my that looks absolutely delicious!! yum!

  13. What a FUN dinner party! LOVE the sobetto with the pom - delish!!!

  14. Thanks for sharing this! The pictures are beautiful and the recipe looks delicious. Have a wonderful weekend...

  15. Your recipe looks and sounds fabulous.

    Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

  16. Would have never thought of putting the fruit and veggies together. Thank YOU. I am visiting from Kim's Saturday Swap.

  17. Lovely ideas and it looks like the party was a smash! I love your pom inspired candles :)


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