About a month ago I entered a contest to host a POM Wonderful dinner party. POM would pick 100 people to host a dinner party inspired by, Pomegranates (of course). I entered at first because Bryan and I love pomegranates, and I really wanted to try to incorporate them into some recipes other than just drinking the juice and eating the seeds. To my surprise I got an e-mail back saying I was one of the 100 picked and I would be receiving two cases of pomegranates and some goodie bags for my guests. After getting this e-mail I had about 9 million thoughts running through my head of what to make, how many people to invite and oh I can’t forget the decorations! After sitting back and relaxing for a little bit I decided that simple was the best way to go.
Bryan and I will hopefully be in New Jersey for Thanksgiving this year and my dad, stepmom and stepsister will all be in upstate New York, so I figured we would do a pre-Thanksgiving inspired dinner together yesterday, just the five of us. Keeping with the Thanksgiving theme our menu was as follows:
Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and a Pomegranate Balsamic Dressing
Roasted Chicken with Pomegranate Glaze
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Garlic Green Beans
Hard Pomegranate – Apple Cider
Brownie Cupcakes topped Pomegranate Cream Cheese Frosting
Over all our dinner was great- with a few minor setbacks of having a small kitchen, sink and not being happy with my frosting! It was nice to have my family here for a relaxing afternoon filled with football and a very tasty dinner (If I do say so myself). Our decorations were simple – some small pumpkins in the center and on each plate was a pomegranate and an instruction card on “how to open a pomegranate”. Most of the recipes used were ones that we make often, simple yet very tasty and all 100% Gluten Free! Below are some of the recipes with photos. (I must note that I got caught up in feeding everyone that I forgot to take a few photos, such as the roasted chicken when it came out of the oven-sorry!)
Salad with Pomegranate-Balsamic Dressing
(We usually have mixed greens and what ever else we can throw into the salad, it is completely up to you)
One -two large romaine lettuce heads, chopped (Or mixed greens)
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cucumber sliced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (optional)
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup of good olive oil
1/4 cup pomegranate juice
1/8-1/4 cup balsamic dressing
Add all ingredients to a covered jar or salad dressing mixer. Shake well and enjoy (you can adjust the measurements to your flavor liking)
Roast Chicken with Pomegranate Glaze
1 Whole Chicken (about 9 pounds)
1/4 cup room temp butter
1 1/2 tablespoons of Seasoning of your choice – I use a mixture of rosemary, thyme, oregano and sage.
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a small bowl mix the softened butter and herbs until well combined. Set aside
Make sure the giblets and neck are removed from the chicken cavity. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper – also season the cavity. Place your chicken in the roasting pan and gently lift the skin using your fingers – be sure not to tear any of it. Once the skin has been lifted, take half of the butter and herb mixture and spread evenly under the skin. Take the remaining butter and herb mixture and do the same over the top of the chicken. Place chicken in oven. About thirty minutes into cooking add about 1 cup of chicken stock to the bottom of the roasting pan and baste the chicken. Continue to baste the chicken every 30 minutes. (please be sure to check the size of your chicken to determine how long it should roast for). For a 9 pound chicken, cook for 2 – 2 1/2 hours.
During the last thirty minutes of the chicken brush it with the pomegranate glaze (see recipe below) every ten minutes, do this again when your chicken has been removed from the oven. This sauce can also be drizzled over the meat on your plate (which I did)
(Very concentrated flavor, and very good)
1 cup POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice
In a small sauce pan heat the pomegranate juice over medium heat. Simmer until juice has reduced about half, about 10-12 minutes.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
(We love mashed sweet potatoes, especially with the cinnamon added. We tend to eat more sweet potatoes than regular ones)
1 – 1 1/2 pounds of sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 – 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup soy milk
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium sauce pan add sweet potatoes and cover with water. Boil for ten minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain well. Either by using a potato masher or using a stand mixer add your potatoes to a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer), add butter and soy milk and begin mashing (or whisking), until smooth. Season with cinnamon and mix again until well blended. Season with salt and pepper.
Garlic Green Beans
(one of our favorite side dishes, quick, easy and very flavorful. This replaces the green bean casserole on our table)
1-2 pounds of fresh green beans
3 large cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
Lightly steam the green beans until bright green yet still crispy. Drain well. In a medium-large pan melt butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and stir in the green beans. Toss the green beans so they are all coated in the garlic and butter/oil sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
(I usually make this a day in advance)
1 Bag (12 oz) fresh cranberries
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup sugar – you can use either with sugar or packed brown sugar (I used the brown sugar this time)
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
In a medium saucepan – over medium/high heat add the pomegranate juice and sugar. Bring to a boil. Add the fresh cranberries, once the berries start to pop open reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook until most of the cranberries have burst open and the sauce has thickened a bit, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add in the pomegranate seeds. Cool to room temp before serving (or if you are making this in advance like I do (I think it tastes better the next day) cool completely and transfer to an air tight container.
I used the recipe on the back of the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Bisquick box.
2 cups Gluten Free Bisquick mix
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk (I use soy)
Heat oven to 400 degrees
Cut shortening into mix, using fork, until particles are size of small peas. Stir in remaining ingredients until soft dough forms. Drop by spoonfulls onto un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 13-16 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 10 biscuits.
Hard Pomegranate-Apple Cider
(We used a local hard apple cider from Newport Vineyards, which is right down the road from us)
3 parts hard apple cider
1 part pomegranate juice
In wine glasses (or any fun glasses you might have) add three parts hard apple cider and one part pomegranate juice and stir lightly. Serve chilled.
Brownie Cupcakes with Pomegranate Cream Cheese Frosting
12 Brownie Cupcakes (I used the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Brownie Mix and made them in a cupcake pan – you can use which ever brand you like). Make these the night before so they can cool and that is one less thing to bake the day of.
(sadly below isn’t the recipe that I used, I made my own but it didn’t have much pomegranate flavor so I suggest using this one instead)
8 oz cream cheese softened (room temp)
4 oz butter softened
3 oz of pomegranate juice (juice from 3-4 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates,* or 1-1/2 cups POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice)
14 oz Powdered sugar
1 cup arils from 1 large POM Wonderful
Prepare fresh pomegranate juice*, score 1-2 fresh pomegranates and place in a bowl of water, break open the pomegranates under water to free the arils (seed sacs), the arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top, sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the arils from fruit and set aside, (refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use), reduce the pomegranate juice, over low heat, down to 3 fl. oz., Allow to cool, place butter into electric mixer bowl with paddle attachment and cream on medium-high speed for 1 minute, add the cream cheese and continue to mix for 2 more minutes, turn the speed down to low and slowly add in the powdered sugar and the pomegranate juice reduction, mix until the sugar is fully combined, remove icing from the mixer and place into a piping bag with a round or star tip.
(I have never made sorbet before so I asked my stepmom to use her ice cream maker so I could attempt making pomegranate sorbet. I found the following recipe online at Saveur and it is very flavorful and refreshing!)
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups pomegranate juice
1 Cup water
Place sugar, 1 cup water, and pomegranate juice in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until well chilled. Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve garnished with pomegranate seeds. (This article was first published in Saveur in Issue #9)
Our table setting
Our POM Wonderful inspired meal
To make our Hard Apple-Pomegranate Cider we used a local hard cider from Newport Vineyards (It’s the best we’ve had)
A light refreshment – Hard Apple-Pomegranate Cider
“How To Open A Pomegranate”
A simple yet flavor packed and refreshing dessert – Pomegranate Sorbet
Each guest got a POM Swag-Bag which included a POM bracelet, POM recipe cards, POM pamphlet, a free coupon for a bottle of POM wonderful juice and an awesome reusable POM wonderful tote. They also got to take home a few pomegranates.