feast magazine, june 2014: pomegranate molasses-glazed chicken thighs + tangled arugula and summer berry salad.

pomegranate molasses-glazed chicken thighs + tangled arugula and summer berry salad.

I’m a little late to the party on this one; we’re already 4 days into June, and for reasons relating to my Wee One’s first week home from school and general summer happenings, I’m just now sitting down to write this. This month’s Feast Magazine is a winner; I know this based not only upon what’s inside it, but by the haste in which people snatched it off the shelves this month. My go-to newstand was cleaned out by June 2nd, and the place I finally found them at only had a few left for me to grab: evidently we are a burger-cover-lovin’ type of people here in Saint Louis. I couldn’t be more proud, and that burger on the cover couldn’t be more seductive.

Because it’s summer, right? Grill season is here! Make all the burgers! I grew up here, and I can safely say that’s how the vast majority of us tackle summer. I smell grills and smokers firing up in my neighborhood on my midmorning walk most days, and the pool in my neighborhood is packed with people lugging their coolers and side dishes and tongs behind them, making the best of our sweltering days.

Some of my earliest memories revolve around summertime. My grandma had a pool to rival most neighborhood pools (not kidding; it was massive) and in the early eighties, most of my cousins lived in the area. Mom was unofficially in charge of the “de-bugging” of the pool (you know, when you do the little skimmer thing to clear off any bugs which have gathered overnight and subsequently met their doom thanks to the chlorine), so we ate breakfast – fast – donned swimwear, and headed over between 9 and 10 AM. As an early riser, this was never early enough for me, but I managed. Mom skimmed, my sister and I swam, eventually every other mom came over with every other kid in our family, and they sat around yellow fringe-decorated umbrellas at white metal tables while we did any number of acrobatics in and out of the pool.

a glimpse of my childhood summers. that's me on the left with my cousin.

a glimpse of my childhood summers. that’s me on the left with my cousin.

If we got bored in the pool, my grandma owned the lot right next to her: a triple-roll of hills with flatland in between which was fabulous for winter sledding, but also made a pretty decent racetrack for competitive grass-rolling. We had a volleyball net, basketball hoop, tons of grass and field; it was like Olympic Village for kids, really, and it was a total blast.

And at the end of the night? Always grilling. Well, okay, sometimes fried chicken, but mostly always grilling. Back then, no one had a fancy grill that I can recall: like everyone else, my grandma had one of those pole-in-the-ground, black covered semi-rectangular numbers that grilled. the. meat. period. I don’t know if there were hot spots or cold spots, but I know there was fire, and we weren’t allowed anywhere near it when it was on, except if someone needed the spray bottle of water (which was omnipresent during grill time, and I still don’t know why).

pomegranate molasses-glazed chicken thighs + tangled arugula and summer berry salad.

Look, I can grill! Sometimes!

So grilling is an integral part of my summer. I myself don’t do it much, as this is probably the only realm of cooking I leave to Mr. Table, but I do love it, and the smell of lit charcoal makes me happy inside, not to mention a little nostalgic. This month, I put my grilling pants on for the magazine and made an entire dinner for you with pomegranate molasses, my “mystery ingredient” for June.

Have you used pomegranate molasses? I used it wayyyy back in the early days of this little space to make Bobby Flay’s chopped apple salad with pomegranate vinaigrette, which I trot out every autumn. I couldn’t find any of the prepared kind back then, so I made my own; easy enough, as it’s just pomegranate juice, sugar, and a little lemon juice reduced down to a thick syrup. Nowadays, I find it at well-stocked groceries (like Whole Foods) and international markets, as it’s big in Middle Eastern cuisine. It has a very punchy, tart flavor to it, and although it may not look it, it’s extremely versatile. This month, I used it as a simple glaze for grilled chicken thighs by cutting it with a little fresh orange juice, and then used a little more in a vinaigrette for a tangled arugula and summer berry salad. The salad is filled with basil and mint, a little goat cheese, some pistachios, and all the berries you could ask for, and the vinaigrette pulls it all together. The chicken is full-flavored and juicy where the salad is bright and airy; a perfect, satisfying balance for summers around the pool, and a total cinch to throw together. Both recipes play well with other things, too: pom-glazed thighs with classic potato salad is a great way to add a little zip to your plate, and the tangled arugula salad gives your burger a little bit of finesse.

pomegranate molasses-glazed chicken thighs + tangled arugula and summer berry salad.

For the first time ever, I have a bonus recipe for you, making this a pomegranate trifecta. After almost a year writing the Mystery Shopper column, I think I finally exceeded my word count, and my third recipe (a B-side, if you will) didn’t make it in, so I’ll give it to you here. It’s a compound butter made with the pomegranate molasses, some orange and lime zest (fruit which you’ll already have from both the salad and the chicken recipes), and a little bit of sea salt. Throw some sliced baguette on the grill for a minute or two, then top with this butter to serve right alongside the chicken and salad.

bonus recipe: pomegranate citrus compound butter.

June is great, isn’t it? It is. I’m navigating my first post-school year summer with the Wee One by making her a month-long “summer camp” at the house, complete with themed weeks and daily activities and crafts, but I’ll tell you more about that later. Here’s a few of my favorite things from the magazine this month:

pomegranate molasses-glazed chicken thighs + tangled arugula and summer berry salad.

If you’re local and haven’t picked up your copy of Feast Magazine yet, you better get out and find one, because they’re going fast this month. Head over here to flip through the online version, and head right here to see my recipes for both the pomegranate-glazed chicken thighs and the tangled arugula + summer berry salad with pomegranate vinaigrette.

Pomegranate-Citrus Compound Butter

Yield | 1/2 cup |

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • zest of 1 orange
  • zest of 1 lime
  • pinch sea salt

In a medium bowl, add butter, pomegranate molasses, zests, and salt. Using a rubber spatula, work the ingredients together until the mixture is smooth and homogenous. Form the butter into a log and wrap in parchment or waxed paper; refrigerate until firm and flavors have blended.

Unwrap and slice into rounds; serve alongside grilled bread.

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33 Comments on "feast magazine, june 2014: pomegranate molasses-glazed chicken thighs + tangled arugula and summer berry salad."

  1. Ashley says:

    Your summers as a child sound like complete perfection! And you and the Wee One could be twins!

    I must admit I’ve had a bottle of pomegranate molasses lingering in my pantry for awhile. I’ve tried it with only a few things (fyi, it does NOT go well with coconut+barley, at least to me) and haven’t found the method to really showcase it. While I’ve even thought about using it with meat (hello, Bobby Flay’s 101 ideas!), I haven’t done it yet. Now I have to, because this sounds and looks just too perfect. Especially that compound butter (which is a recent obsession of mine).

    Also, I’m longing to try your St Louis style pizza with the special Provel cheese now. The picture in Feast looks so similar to a local Dayton pizzeria (http://www.marionspiazza.com/Menus/Dayton-s-1-Pizza.html). Okay, their pictures look awful, but I swear the pizza is delicious and addictive, even to an avid crust lover like myself. And they use the little ground up cheese and sausages (Eric lovingly calls them rabbit turds….which, alas, is an accurate descriptor). But now I need to know!!! ah!

    PS – can we all come to your summer camp? It sounds way better than work…

    • shannon says:

      I can’t complain about my early childhood summers, that’s for sure: it’s one of those “we didn’t know we had it so good” sort of things you wish you had appreciated more as a kid. :) The Wee and i really could be twins: if i had a nickel for every time even total strangers have come up to us and told us that…believe me, it’s just as freaky in real life. Cute, but freaky.

      Pom molasses is – in my opinion – slightly intimidating to work with if you’ve never done so, simply because the flavor packs such a punch that it’s like considering how Sour Patch Kids would fit into your dinner, you know? In fact, pom molasses would make a really delicious flavor of Sour Patch Kid. :) Bobby Flay is a big fan of it, and he does know how to use it: trust him. trust ME. Trust Feast, because i hear that my chicken was gobbled up at the TV shoot when they filmed the recipe demo. I promise you i wouldn’t steer you wrong. The compound butter is lovely as well: it’s sort of the opposite way to use pom molasses like i did with the meat: less in your face, more a background component, but still big flavor.

      You have to visit me some time! You’re not terribly far away, so if you’re ever in the area, you tell me and i’ll take you for pizza. Honestly, a mark of a good pizza place around here is that they have horrible photos, so i take that as a good sign for Marion’s. :) The tiny meat ball things are the BEST! i forget if Imo’s is that way, but we definitely have local, less-famous but no less worthy pizza joints who utilize the rabbit turd style sausages.

      You’re welcome any time to summer camp, but you have to help me work the glue gun. It’s a requirement for any adults who attend. Also, you have to push the Wee One on the swingset because my arms get tired after awhile. :)

  2. This seriously makes me sad I don’t live close enough to St. Louis to pick up a copy of Feast — this issue sounds fabulous! I love the idea of glazing the chicken thighs with pomegranate molasses and orange. I actually have a little jar of pom-lasses in my cupboard right now, but haven’t gotten around to using it yet. (Salad dressings were top of my list, but now glazing meats is a close second).

    Also, I really need to get a grill. We struggle through each summer, when, on the hottest days, T-Hubs literally bans me from our un-air-conditioned kitchen. I meant to get a grill last year, but got stuck on whether to go with gas or charcoal. I like the convenience of the one, but the foodie in me longs for the char-grilled flavor of the other. I also like the idea of having a dirt-cheap, old-school charcoal grill, rather than a big, expensive, high-maintenance propane grill. I still haven’t decided yet, though, and you’ve just reminded me that it’s JUNE already. THERE’S NO TIME FOR DILLY-DALLYING!

    • shannon says:

      They should call it Pomlasses! easier than rolling out the “MR POMEGRANATE MOLASSES, IF YOU PLEASE” title. :) Both are delicious ways to use it: try them together if you can’t decide, a la throw that chicken right on top of that salad and dive in. Like eating a sweet tart, only bigger and with more vitamins and minerals.

      UM, YES. you do need a grill; you have gorgeous weather up there what are you waiting for!?! Did you say unairconditioned kitchen? Just…no. Pack your bags and move here; i can be your summer home. And i know that there are grillers out there way more experienced in handling this part, but if you ask me, i like a charcoal grill. totally old-school. We had gas for years, and it was fine, but when it died i convinced Mr. Table to go charcoal and beyond it smelling JUST LIKE MY CHILDHOOD, which is amazing (especially in the fall b/c fall is perfect and that just adds to the perfect), it cooks meat like a dream, and with a flavor you can’t get from gas grills. i’m sorry, but you can’t. it’s not the same. to me, at least. So if you are like me, and i suspect you are, kick it old-school. Cheaper the better. Grilling meat should not be overly schmancy. :)

  3. The Wee One looks just like you did when you were little! I had to read the caption twice to make sure it was you and not her. I had that very same childhood, without the masses of kids. My grandparents had a huge in-ground pool and my brother and I lived in it during the summer. Perfection!

    You win the mom award for doing the summer camp thing with The Wee One! I was never such a fun mom when the boy was small. Now that he’s almost 15 we are working on a “learn the basics” summer. He does all the breakfast dishes now and we are going to work on laundry, housecleaning and adding to his cooking skills as the summer goes on. I guess I’m doing my own summer camp, though it looks a lot like putting the kid to work. :)

    I saw both of those recipes last week in the Post’s preview of the June Feast. They printed both in the food section and I was drooling over them. And I have a bottle of pomegranate molasses in my fridge as we speak. It’ll have to wait until after this weekend’s festivities for the boy’s confirmation, but then I’m getting the stuff I need for all three of the recipes. I can’t wait to pull out the pomegranate molasses and all of its tart tangy sweetness!

    Do you think the chicken would work with bone-in breasts (with obvious adjustments to cooking times)? We are not dark meat fans here.

    One little note: I grew up in the area too, and still live here. I don’t get Imo’s. I just don’t. Please don’t strike me down. :)

    • shannon says:

      I’m not gonna lie, that kid is my twin, just 30+ years younger. Although i see Mr. Table in her certainly, there are days when both her looks and her personality make her a direct clone of my dna. i don’t know how i did that. Some days = blessing, some days = curse.

      We shared a childhood without knowing it! did you assume every grandparent was required to have a pool also? :) I feel like i more assumed that someone in any family was required to have one, because where else did everyone go in the summer?

      I really need to make a note on my calendar to check the Post when they do the Feast preview: i only read (any) news sporadically and on the fly, and i never seem to get that one right. :( Things i Need to Work On, Item #928.

      I think any chicken parts you like the best would work wonderfully for this: obviously time change is in order (and you’ll do that better than i, so i’ll leave you to it) but always get the kind with bones (imo) when grilling, for sure. i see no reason why that wouldn’t be totally delicious.

      Wait…what. WHAT. So here’s the thing: I get that. But i’d have to then ask you what your childhood pizza was if it wasn’t Imo’s, because i feel like if it WAS Imo’s, you’d almost have to like it, even from a nostalgia standpoint. I was innundated with thin-crust/stl-style pizza as a kid, and not just Imo’s: Rich and Charlies, Gianninos (still my absolute, die without it favorite), That’sa Nice-a Pizza…all of those. it’s in MY BLOOD. so how…why…i don’t get it. Obviously we need to discuss this on our next coffee date.

      HAHAHA put him to work! Girl, that is totally summer-camp for teens: Life Skills 101. They gotta know it for the eventual college years when they’re floundering around like idiots wondering how their socks were always clean and where those non-food-encrusted dishes are. I’d bet money that your summer camp may be more difficult to execute than my own. :) If you need an assistant, the Wee One is pretty well-versed in all of those things (she actually gets sad on the days i tell her i’m cleaning without her). she would love to assist.

  4. Brianne says:

    What great recipes and a great story! Summer is so for grilling. And this may have rekindled my obsession with pomegranate molasses, which faded after I bought a bottle of orange flower water like 2 years ago and realized I was never going to use it. I guess because they’re next to each other every time I see them at the specialty food store, I always associate them together? That’s my crazy brain at work. I need to start putting berries in salads, too. That sounds awesome. And you and Elizabeth are doing it up with the compound butter! It’s time for me to get on that train.

    • shannon says:

      You have to love random food associations though: i’ve done the same with products and events, so no judgement. For sure, pick a bottle up! Until I developed these recipes, i had only ever used it in vinaigrette, but as a glaze, it’s stunning in both color and tart flavor.
      Not to rip on my own recipe, but i’m betting Elizabeth’s ramp butter is MUCH better than mine because, RAMPS. but mine is pretty good as well. I don’t do many either, just on my own, but MAN are they good, and always really easy to throw together.

  5. You’re right, Feast is offering a ton of winning recipes. Oh my, the wee one looks just like you when you were a wee one. That salad is calling my name. I love a good sweet-with-my-savory dish.

    • shannon says:

      That angel cake, right? Sorry i can’t like, pull myself away from the sprinklerifficness of that thing. :) I’ve spent the first 4 years of the Wee One’s life knowing that at any point, total strangers can (and will) come up to me to tell me how much she looks like me, and i always appreciate the compliment. It’s only when i start to look at old photos of myself that i truly get the comparison: we’re basically the same kid. Still, in fact. :)

  6. I have picked up the latest edition of Feast but haven’t cracked the cover yet. I will, I will! Your chicken thighs and salad look super. I remember when pomegranate molasses became big, maybe 20 or so years ago after Paula Wolfert published one of her cookbooks and used it extensively. I just make my own — it’s basically a reduced simple syrup. Sounds like you had a great childhood! I had totally forgotten about those spray bottles when grilling — people were afraid of the fire flaring up, and catching the food on fire (which did happen from time to time — most people didn’t have covers on their grills, which do help extinguish flames). Anyway, fun post — thanks.

    • shannon says:

      DO IT! You’re one of the few people who visit my little space that have access to a paper copy, don’t take it for granted. :) This one took me a while to get through, because like the November 2013 one, it’s packed with some really great articles and recipes, and the burger photos have me planning a little burger tour of STL sometime this summer.
      Is THAT what those spray bottles were for? CHILDHOOD MYSTERY SOLVED! Thank you, John: i have spent decades wondering why they they were so darn important to have around. All i could think of when i was little was “if that’s supposed to put out a fire, we’re ALL in trouble” but it makes much more sense now. Shows you how much I know about grilling. Thank you for that.

  7. Deb says:

    I’m too far away to get my own copy of Feast but the links are tasty! The Angel Food cake technique requires further exploration. And so does my use of pomegranate molasses! Indeed, grilling may be the best thing about June!

    • shannon says:

      I love that they have the online version to flip through…it’s like you have the magazine right there (albeit not the actual paper in hand). :) It’s a great one to flip through. And that angel food cake totally caught my eye: it’s like the most perfect summer thing, and i’m definitely giving it a whirl.Thanks, Deb!

  8. Peggy says:

    Ah! summer at Grandma’s! All of you cousins need a “pool reunion.” Though Pudding Pops, Steak n Shake, KFC or Rich and Charlies would would be the nostalgic menu, all of you are great parents and you would make much better food! Fun picture of you and Jake!

    • shannon says:

      That would be fun! And you know, i just made homemade pudding pops for the Wee One last week, probably as some sort of subconscious ode to what we always used to have at grandma’s. I’d have to argue about better food: hard to get better than Steak n’ Shake or Rich & Charlies, for sure. :)

  9. elizabeth says:

    I will be the womp-womp and remind us all that it’s still technically spring…but that’s only because I don’t like summer (and spring for that matter) to be shuffled through so quickly and that the strike of Labor Day means pumpkin-spice lattes for all. (This is not a derision of the PSL, but rather a call to reason that perhaps we wait until after the solstice to enjoy them.) I love your summer memories–my parents’ pool was not quite so big, but I would spend hours in it with the various rubber sea creatures I’d bring back from the shore. Back in the day my parents had a green umbrella with gold fringe, but that has long ago ended up in some landfill somewhere.

    I am definitely checking out Feast to get your pomegranate chicken thigh recipe, as I always love to have new ways to do chicken thighs and this feels especially warm-weather-friendly. The arugula salad looks absolutely heavenly to boot, and I may have to make that when my in-laws come in a few weeks. I always love your recipes and the warm way in which you talk about them, but maybe it’s the pomegranate that’s prompting me to more immediate reaction.

    • shannon says:

      Aw, Elizabeth, you ARE the womp womp! :) And so it is; and i’m normally right there next to you chiding everyone for rushing through seasons: no pumpkin before late September, no spring salads in February, and so on, because i don’t like to wear out any season by starting it too early. That being said, I have probably always rushed into summer, but for me, summer begins on Memorial Day, end scene. Here at least, pools open, kids get out of school, summer produce is already in full swing, so it’s hard to not mark the change when so many thing change. This is my PSL season, i guess. But you’re completely right: still spring, and i suppose i do know that based on the temps here (which are warm but still enjoyable).

      Your summer memories sound fabulous as well – trips to the shore would have been magical! Pomegranate is a lovely thing, i agree, and the molasses is fun to use. We have pomegranates in stores here and there, but wow are they NOT the big, ruby-colored gems you see in the fall (so i steer clear). Hopefully these recipes are a nice way to work it into summer WAIT: spring. almost summer.

  10. 25 days until I can eat this… I’m going to count down every…. single….. day…..

  11. Wow, that top picture has me majorly salivating. The chicken looks so moist and flavorful, and you paired it with what’s possibly my favorite salad ingredients- arugula, berries and cheese. I’m totally making this soon.
    I love the smell of grills in the summer :) We finally got a gas hookup outside so I’m itching to buy a grill! Omg, you were adorable!!! And geez, that sounds like the best childhood ever.

    • shannon says:

      thanks, amy! chicken thighs are amazing: i never used to use them for things, but truly, they’re so good for grilling and they stay nice and juicy versus drying out. and that salad is really just me on a plate in the summer: it’s one of my favorites too.
      you MUST get a grill to go with that new house in the suburbs! it’s like a requirement, right?

  12. Oh boy. I love pomegranate molasses and can’t wait to give this a try. And when I actually get in bed tonight I’m going to read this magazine from my new tablet. I am a little slow on things so I am excited to try it out and reading is the one thing I know how to do on it! Besides that, the salad looks incredible but not quite incredible as those summers sound! Not much better than poolside seats in the hot, humid Midwest! And your wee one? I already know she’ll be looking back wistfully in about 20 years or so!

    • shannon says:

      hooray for technology! you can see it quite well on tablets, so enjoy. :) my summers when i was little were really great: definitely you take it for granted when you’re 5 because you just assume what you’re doing is what everyone is doing, but it’s fun to look back on it now because it was pretty special. I’ve really tried this summer (since it’s her first summer at home post-school) to make it a fun one for her; so far, so good!

    • shannon says:

      Don’t you worry, Abbe: i still don’t get reading on tablets, mostly: i can do magazines, but reading anything book-like makes me uncomfortable, and then i miss the printed pages, and then the entire thing falls apart. :)
      This salad? great. My kid summers? Better. although i sort of wish we had known about pom molasses back then because we could have had more flavorful dinners, for sure. :) I do hope the Wee One gets that she’s having fun, for sure: it’s my goal to give her not obviously the same summers i had, but ones filled with magical things just the same. I think she’s making out okay so far, but it is WORK.

  13. Wendy says:

    On a recent exploratory trip to The Spice House (similar but different from Penzey’s) in Chicago, probably searching for some unusual spice you mention in one of your Feast recipes, I came across a bottle of pomegranate molasses. It found its way into my basket because who can resist the idea of something called pomegranate molasses, but I had no real plan of how I would use it. I had a vague idea that I could use it instead of balsamic glaze. The little bottle has been sitting on my pantry shelf waiting for these recipes! My favorite summer salad includes goat cheese and strawberries. I never imagined putting mint in a salad like a green! That sounds so wonderful, I am going out to pick mint immediately so that I can try it in a salad for lunch! I love your Feast features, Shannon. The agonizing that I am sure went into every recipe produces amazing results!

    • shannon says:

      I have heard about the Spice House: i think Bobby Flay recommends it for a few spices and powders found in his cookbook that aren’t anything Penzey’s carries; i feel like i would love it/spend entirely too much money in it.
      It’s like you anticipated the Mystery Shopper column this month! :) I promise you, it has many really great uses, so put that bottle to work! It’s pretty awesome in the summer because that tartness added to sweet summer berries is epic; it’ll turn your taste buds right on, and it makes a nice alternative to balsamic – more summery, in a way. and the mint puts it over the top: i was never a big mint person until i started blogging and saw it in recipes i didn’t expect it to be: now i can’t get enough. Thankfully, too, because i have a monster crop of mint in the backyard. :)

      Thank you so much, Wendy: that’s so nice to hear that all my agonizing is paying off! :) a lot of work does go into these, and i love it when i hear they’re well received. thank you again.

  14. Katherine says:

    I can’t get over the glaze on that chicken thigh. I’m torn between whether that photo or the word “tangled” as applied to an arugula salad is more wonderful.

    I love them both.

    • shannon says:

      I love that you love “tangled” – I feel like i was having an inspired day after i saw that glaze and how vibrant it was. And also that a recipe i made actually worked on the first try (a rarity). :)

  15. Monica says:

    I want to pick up that sticky, gloriously glazed chicken thigh and just live in the moment of eating it. It’s hard to take my eye off of it. A side salad like that and I don’t think I even need dessert. These are some great, interesting recipes, with combinations I’ve never had. Looks terrific!

    • shannon says:

      Thank you, Monica! It’s so seductive, right? I don’t often think of grilled chicken as “pretty” but this one was – that giaze makes everything look better. And that salad is wonderful, exactly for that reason: it definitely is sweet/tart, so it hits both the targets when you’re eating dinner. It’s hard to forgo dessert, but i’d be fine too if this was dinner.

  16. What a beautiful salad! AND a genius use for pomegranate molasses — well 3 genius uses, really, but especially the one in compound butter. Now I NEED to try that!

    It sounds like you guys have a lovely summer lined up (I assume with lots of good eating!).

    • shannon says:

      Thanks, Allison!

      We do…er…maybe too lovely, since i’ve been MIA for like a month. :) Summer has been busy/fun, and i’m happy to be back at the blogging thing. now i just need to catch up with all of you and all the food you’ve been making. *sigh* it’s a hard life. :)

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