2013-11-25

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The problem with "berry" muffins is that the berries tend to dry out -- their juice cooks out into the main body of the muffin. In these muffins, the juice stays inside the pomegranate "arils" -- the little individual seed packets. When you bite into them, you get a little explosion of juice in your mouth.

Dry:

  • 2 cups (270g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup minced crystallized ginger1
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 ¼ cup pomegranate arils2, 3 (one medium pomegranate)

Wet:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cups honey or ⅔ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup oil

In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in crystallized ginger, lemon peel, and pomegranate arils. Make a well in the center.

In another bowl, blend milk, egg, honey, and oil. Add any juice from extracting the arils. Pour all the liquid into the well. Stir just until the batter is moistened; it will be lumpy. Spoon batter into 12 (2 ½ inch wide) or 24 (1 ¾ inch wide) buttered muffin cups, filling each almost to the rim. Sprinkle each with 1-2 teaspoons sugar.

Bake in a 425°F oven until lightly browned (about 16 minutes for large muffins, 13 minutes for small). Remove the muffins from the pan at once. Serve hot, or set on a rack and serve warm or cool.

Notes:
  1. Crystallized ginger is wonderful stuff, but it tends to be pricey. Trader Joe's has "uncrystallized ginger", which is just as good, for a reasonable price.
  2. "Arils" are the individual pomegranate "seeds" -- the seed itself, the layer of juice, and the membrane that holds the juice in.
  3. Getting the arils out of the fruit can be a bit of a challenge. Try to use brute force and you'll end up looking like an extra in a slasher movie -- the juice stains. There are helpful videos on YouTube, of course. Some of them even work. The way I do it:
    1. Cut around the equator of the fruit, just deeply enough to get through the rind.
    2. Pry the two hemispheres apart
    3. Gently pull the rind apart, loosening the arils
    4. Hold the hemisphere over a bowl, cut side down.
    5. Whack it vigorously with a heavy wooden spoon. Ideally, the arils will just fall out.
    6. Pick out any of the white membrane that finds its way into the bowl.
    7. Repeat with the other hemisphere.
    Here's a YouTube video of the process.

Original recipe

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Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs

Moist, juicy chicken thighs with a crispy skin.

Servings: 2-4

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 1/4 pounds)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 475°. Pat the thighs dry and rub with the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a 12" cast-iron1 skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Nestle chicken in skillet, skin side down, and cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high; continue cooking skin side down, occasionally rearranging chicken thighs and rotating pan to evenly distribute heat, until fat renders and skin is golden brown, about 12 minutes.2, 3

Transfer skillet to oven and cook 12 more minutes. Flip chicken; continue cooking until skin crisps and meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate; let rest 5 minutes before serving.4

Notes

  1. When I say "cast iron", I mean cast iron. The original suggests a nonstick pan; don't. You risk ruining it. Cast iron is indestructible.
  2. Like all good fried chicken recipes, this will splatter grease all over your stove and oven if you let it. I use a "splatter screen" over the pan on top of the stove and a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the pan in the oven. (This turns out to be surprisingly tricky -- air currents from the oven will pick up the foil and carry it away.)
  3. The temperature of the pan is critical to get the proper skin texture.
  4. This makes an excellent pan gravy.
Original recipe

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