Chicken (or Duck) Mesopotamia Moderne
Author: Carolyn Kumpe/CA
Adventure Ingredients: Fresh mint (any varietal), Crystallized ginger, Sumac, Raw honey, Cacao nibs, Fresh or whole dried chili pepper, Malbec, Cumin, Paprika (any varietal), Smoked sea salt
Mesopotamian Spice Rub Moderne:
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted
- 1 chile (pequin is preferred but not necessary)
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon ground Sumac
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
- 1 teaspoon smoked sea salt
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 large chicken or Muscovy duck breast halves, skin scored in an 1/4" cross hatch pattern with cuts about 1/8" deep
Pomegranate-Malbec Wine Sauce:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8 shallots, peeled
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- 1 cup Malbec wine
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh basil
- 1/2 pomegranate juice
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger,finely chopped
- 2 cups reduced unsalted chicken or duck stock
- 2 oz Scharffen Berger Bittersweet 70% cacao, chopped
- 2-4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Toast the cumin, coriander, chile pequin and peppercorns in a small ungreased skillet on low heat until fragrant about 1 minute. Place all spice rub ingredients in a spice grinder or mortal and pestle. Pulverize. With gloves, rub spice mixture evenly on duck or chicken breasts. Place on a rack with a drain pan beneath, refrigerate, curing overnight.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the cured chicken (or duck), skin side down, & sauté until golden brown about 3-4 minutes. Turn the chicken (or duck) breasts & brown the other side. Remove chicken (or duck), placing it skin side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven, roasting for 10 minutes. Turn chicken (or duck) with tongs. Continue roasting for 5-10 minutes or until desired temperature of doneness. Remove from oven let rest 8 or more minutes before carving.
While chicken (or duck) is roasting, prepare the sauce. Discard fat from the pan, reserving 1 tablespoon. Heat on medium high. Add the shallots & cook until golden about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Add the honey and caramelize for 30 seconds. Quickly add the wine, bay leaf & basil sprig. Reduce by half. Add the pomegranate juice, molasses, & ginger. Reduce by half. Add the reduced stock. Boil on medium heat until mixture is reduced to a glaze like consistency (1 cup) about 8-10 minutes. Turn off heat. Remove the shallots, placing them on the baking sheet with the chicken (or duck). Strain sauce into a small saucepan. Whisk in chocolate, while sauce is warm. Whisk in butter. Taste and adjust seasoning for salt, pepper & sweetness, adding more honey or molasses. Plate.
4 large warm plates:
Slice chicken (or duck) thinly.
Fan slices on plate.
Sauce the chicken (or duck).
Garnish with mint & basil chiffonade.
Spinkle with pomegranate seeds.