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Georgian pomegranate chicken

Georgian Pomegranate Chicken

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A low maintenance chicken recipe with Georgian Jewish influence.

  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 1x


Units Scale
  • 12 whole chicken legs, or 6 bone-in thighs + 6 legs (about 4 lb)
  • sunflower or avocado oil, as needed
  • 3 medium red onions, halved and sliced thin
  • 45 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 ½ tsp Aleppo pepper, ½ tsp red pepper flakes or to taste
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 Tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • arils/seeds of 1 whole pomegranate
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro or parlesy, for garnish
  • salt and pepper, as needed


  1. Start by generously seasoning your chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Turn your Instant Pot or pressure cooker to the sauté setting, which should produce high heat for browning. If needed increase the heat to MORE or according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the pot is hot, add a drizzle of oil. Brown each piece of chicken until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Cook the chicken in batches so as not to crowd the pot and cause the chicken to steam instead of brown. On the stoevtop, brown the chicken in a large pot or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Once all of the chicken is browned, transfer it from the pot and reserve.
  3. Next, add all of the onions to the same pot so that they can cook in the remaining chicken fat. If your chicken did not release very much oil, and another Tbsp or two oil to the pot. Season the onions with salt and sauté for 5-6 minutes or until softened and starting to slightly brown. Add the garlic, coriander and paprika to the pot and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the tomato paste, and stir everything until the onion mixture is well coated in the tomato paste. Nestle the reserved browned chicken back into the pot. Press CANCEL to turn off the sauté function on the pot. Follow the same steps on a stovetop.
  4. Add the pomegranate juice, pomegranate molasses, tamarind paste, honey, thyme and bay to the pot. Place the lid on the Instant Pot, close the pot and seal it. Press the POULTRY or MANUAL setting and set the time to 15 minutes. Let the steam naturally release for 10-15 minutes, and shift the valve to venting if more air needs to be released. On the stovetop, cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes on medium-low or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
  5. Press CANCEL, open the lid and tranfser the chicken to a platter and lightly cover with foil to keep the chicken warm. Remove the bay leaf and thyme stems. Turn on the SAUTE function again. Allow the sauce to simmer and reduce by half, or until its reached your desired thickness. On the stovetop, turn the heat to medium-high and simmer.
  6. Once the sauce has reduced and thickened, pour the sauce over the chicken. At this point you can keep dish warm in a low oven, or you can cool it and freeze if making in advance.
  7. Just before serving, garnish the chicken with the fresh pomegranate and roughly chopped cilantro or parsley.


  1. Dark meat works best for this, but you can certainly make it with white meat as well.
  2. Like all great Holiday dishes, you can make this several days in advance and it only gets better when reheated. It also freezes well, just leave off the fresh garnish until right before serving. (And yes, if you really don’t want to cave to culinary social pressure, you can make this recipe the old-fashioned way.)
  3. This recipe can easily be doubled.
  4. Aleppo pepper is a mild chili flake with a deep red color and a savory, fruity flavor. You can find it, along with tamarind paste and pomegranate molasses at Middle Eastern stores, Whole Foods or online.
  • Author: Sonya Sanford
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Georgian