Rosh Hashanah is around the corner so it is appropriate to make recipes containing ingredients from the Simanim (symbolic New Years foods). Pomegranate molasses is a wonderful concentration of the magical sweet and sour of pomegranate seeds. Pomegranate seeds are symbolic of an abundant life filled with doing numerous good deeds.
Combining pomegranate molasses with some favorite other sweet and citrus flavors yielded juicy, moist, flavorful chicken, with a deep reddish brown lacquer finish. I will admit that even the leftovers of this chicken were delicious cold the next day at lunch. I plan to serve this chicken as one of two main courses on Rosh Hashanah eve.
1/ 2 cup pomegranate molasses
1/3 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons tamarind paste, thinned with 1 tablespoon water, or tamarhindi, as is
2 plump 3 1/ 2 pound whole chickens cleaned and patted dry
Combine the molasses, preserves, orange juice, and tamarind in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Place each of the whole chickens in a sealable plastic bag (like Ziploc). Place the bagged chickens in a baking dish. Add half of the marinade to each bag, seal bag, and massage chicken in the bag to distribute the marinade all over chicken. Let chicken sit for two hours refrigerated. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator, and prepare barbecue grill or heat oven to 400° F. To roast chicken on a three burner gas barbecue grill, prepare by removing the center cooking rack and the gas burner cover underneath the rack. Place a foil pan (half steam pan size) or two to catch any chicken juices directly over the center gas burner inside the grill. Place the center cooking rack back in its position, over the inserted drip pan.
Next, turn the two gas burners on either side of the center on, leaving the center burner off. Let the barbecue grill heat on medium-high for about 20 minutes, with the lid closed. Open barbecue grill lid, remove each chicken from its bag, and place chickens in the center directly on the rack over the drip pans, breast side up, in tandem. Close the lid and let chicken roast for about 1 1/ 2 hours or until dark golden.
At this point using a gloved hand or a pair of tongs give the chicken a turn to back side up for about 15 minutes to brown and crisp up this side of the chickens. Remove chickens from the grill and place breast side up in a baking dish. Chicken should sit for at least 15 minutes before it is carved to maintain juciness.
Alternatively, for oven roasting, remove chickens from bags and place in a large roasting pan. Toss bags with marinade in trash. Place roasting pan in the preheated oven. Roast chicken for about 1 1/4 hours to 1 1/2 hours or until dark golden brown, with juices running clear. Remove chickens to a cutting board and let sit for at least 15 minutes before carving.