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Chicken with Apples, Onions and Pomegranates


The original version of this recipe is in the Sephardic Cookbook I bought in the Sulfaris Synagogue-Museum gift shop in Istanbul. The cookbook was compiled by the members of the Turkish Jewish Community to record the delicious food of the Jews who migrated to Turkey from Spain in 1492 and to raise money for the Association for Assistance to the Elderly. Each recipe has two columns for each recipe: one in Turkish and one in English. I have changed the proportions to better fit our food habits today; but I believe I have maintained the flavor profile of the recipe. For Instance, the original recipe calls for one chicken and five pounds of potatoes for eight people. I prepared my version with three chickens and three pounds of potatoes for 12 people. I also added uncooked pomegranate seeds for a splash of color which was not mentioned in the original recipe. The food we saw in Istanbul was so beautiful and colorful that I don’t believe the elders would mind my dressing up their old world recipe.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 12 ServingsServings


  • 3 small chickens-skinned and cut in joints
  • 2 large lemons
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large Spanish onions (about 2 pounds)
  • 4 large Granny Smith apples
  • 3 large pomegranates (about 4 cups arils)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • Olive oil spray
  • 3 pounds tri color new potatoes (one color is fine too but tri-color is prettier)


  1. Rinse and trim chicken. Place in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with black pepper and juice of one lemon. Mix well and set aside.
  2. Peel, core and shred apples in processor. Scrape into mixing bowl.  Peel and shred onions in processor. Add to apples. Add 3 cups pomegranate arils to apples and onions. Grate rind of remaining lemon directly over this mixture. Squeeze lemon and pour juice over mixture. Mix well.
  3. Preheat oven to: 375 F.
  4. Grease roasting pan with olive oil spray. Spread half onion mixture on bottom of pan. Arrange chicken on top of it. Spread remaining onion mixture on top of chicken. Pour ¼ cup olive oil and one cup water over all. Cover with foil and bake for one hour.
  5. While chicken is cooking, wash (do not peel) potatoes and cut them into ½ inch rounds. Season potatoes with salt and pepper. When chicken has baked for one hour, remove foil and scatter potatoes over and around chicken. Return to oven and roast uncovered until potatoes are browned on the outside and soft on the inside. Baste occasionally with chicken juices. This takes about 45 minutes longer.

Arrange chicken in serving dish. Sprinkle the top with remaining cup of arils. Serve hot or at room temperature

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