Another Persian-flavored Rosh Hashanah – Saffron and Pomegranate-Glazed Chicken

I can’t seem to resist cooking with pomegranate syrup at Rosh Hashanah.  This year, I am making a saffron and pomegranate glazed chicken.  The chicken is beautiful; it is so deeply colored (look at that red!) and richly flavored.  My only problem is being in the condo without my serving dishes, so I am making do with what I have…


I will serve it with rice, but you can use your favorite Rosh Hashanah side dishes.  One of the only times I will make a whole roast chicken is on the high holidays.  This will earn its place among my treasured ones such as Honey Orange Roasted Chicken .

I will soon post some of the other recipes I am using for our first holidays in Portland.  Oh, by the way, I should mention that Cam is loving his new Hebrew School at Shaarie Torah.  It is a mix of 6th through 12th graders; as they write in the description “The Wednesday Night School program is developed by teenagers for teenagers. Topics of discussion often focus on issues of importance to our teen congregants: gossip, peer pressure, bullying, sexuality, modesty, alcohol and drugs, etc. Wednesday Night School periodically meets at local non-profits serving people in need, in support of our community-wide goal of tikkun olam (repairing the world).” And, they start the night by having  dinner together. So far it seems to be perfect for him, he is meeting kids from a variety of schools, adding to his expanding circle of friends in our new home.

Saffron and Pomegranate-Glazed Chicken

Washington Post

One (5-pound) whole chicken
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon loosely packed saffron threads
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons mild honey
2 large garlic cloves, finely grated
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 tangerine
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Olive or grapeseed oil, to coat the pan


Thoroughly pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Stir together the salt and pepper in a small bowl, then rub the seasoning all over the chicken, and inside the cavity. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 4 hours, and up to 24 hours. This will allow the seasoning to penetrate the meat and yield a flavorful bird, as well as make it possible for the glaze to stay put on the skin. Before cooking, let the bird sit at room temperature for 1 hour, to ensure even cooking.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a small, dry skillet over medium heat. Toast the saffron, shaking the pan a few times, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, transfer the saffron to a small bowl, and let cool. Using a mortar and pestle (or the bottom of a soup spoon), grind the saffron into coarse powder.


Combine the pomegranate molasses, honey, garlic, tangerine zest and juice, cumin and the saffron powder in a small bowl. Using your hands, or a pastry brush, apply the mixture all over the chicken, as well as inside the cavity. You will have extra glaze left over; reserve.


Brush a thin coating of oil on the bottom of a heavy large oven-proof skillet, add the chicken and transfer to the oven. About 30 minutes into roasting, brush some of the extra glaze all over the bird, and repeat every 10 minutes.


Roast for 50 to 70 minutes, until the juices run clear. The bird should be lacquered and a glossy burgundy-brown.


Let the chicken rest for about 15 minutes before carving.

Serve with rice and your favorite Rosh Hashanah vegetables.  Enjoy!

Serves 4-6




One Comment Add yours

Let me know what you think of this post, and if you try the recipe, please let me know how it was and any suggestions you have. Thanks, Andrea

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