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The other day Mike came home with this:

The day after, he came home to this:

 (Isn’t it amazing what flowers can do?  ;) )

Truth be told, I had a chicken thawing in the fridge and cherries that needed to be used in the freezer (I don’t want frozen cherries around when the fresh ones hit the markets!) and I would have made him this meal anyway.  But the roses added a beautiful, romantic element that we both really appreciated.

My inspiration for this dish was a Persian dish called Albaloo Polow (Persian Rice Pilau with Saffron & Sour Cherries), which is frequently served with chicken.  Instead of adding the cherries to the rice pilau, I decided to reinterpret the dish.  I roasted my chicken, made an exotically-spiced cherry sauce to adorn it, and served it with a very pretty yellow and white rice.

Recently, the very kind people at POM Wonderful sent me some of their Pomegranate Cranberry juice to sample.  I love the sweet/tart flavor of this juice and I thought it would be the perfect addition to my sweet and savory cherry sauce.  It really was.  

Just a quick note about POM, since they really are a fantastic company.  I was pretty impressed to learn that they grow, harvest, process, and ship their own pomegranates, and that they employ sustainable business practices like using the latest drip-irrigation technologies, using every single part of the pomegranate (the leftovers are used as cattle feed!), and manufacturing their bottles right next to their filling plant.  And their line of delicious juices is expanding to include some amazing flavors, such as POM Blueberry, POM Cranberry, POM Cherry, POM Mango, POM Kiwi, and POM Nectarine.

A Cooking Suggestion:  I realized this after the fact; otherwise I would have done it myself.  If you have an extra 10 minutes once the sauce and chicken are done cooking, I recommend adding the chicken to the sauce and letting them simmer together for a bit.  The flavor of the sauce will seep in and the chicken will turn a lovely mahogany color.

 Chicken with Cherry Sauce

(Yield:  4 servings)


1 smallish (about 2 1/2 to 3 lb) whole chicken, quartered and trimmed of excess fat

1 tablespoon olive oil

Generous pinch coarse salt and fresh grated black pepper

Cherry Sauce:

1 1/2 cups sweet black cherries, pitted (fresh or frozen; thawed if frozen, with juices reserved)

1/2 cup pomegranate juice (I used POM Wonderful Pomegranate Cranberry juice)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 large clove garlic, grated

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp each ground cinnamon and cumin

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)

Pinch each ground cloves & nutmeg

2 pods cardamom, crushed

2 tablespoons dry white wine

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 of a chicken-flavored soft bouillon cube

White & Yellow Rice, for serving

For chicken:  Preheat oven to 350F.  Pat chicken pieces dry and transfer to a baking sheet.  Top with oil, salt, and pepper and rub in with your fingers.  Bake until fully cooked (about 45 minutes).  (Chicken is fully cooked when the juices run clear and it registers an internal temperature of about 165F on an instant-read thermometer.  More info on the temperature at which chicken is fully cooked can be found here.)

For cherry sauce:  In a blender or food processor, combine 1/2 cup cherries (reserving the remaining 1 cup for use later) and the juice and process until completely smooth; set aside.

Add oil to a medium saucepan over medium heat; once hot, add onion and cook until softened (about 5 minutes).  Add garlic and ginger and cook another 30 seconds, then add bay leaf, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom and cook another 30 seconds. 

Add white wine and vinegar and turn heat up to high; cook until liquid is almost all evaporated off, stirring constantly.  Add honey and cherry juice mixture and bring up to a simmer.  (Once the sauce simmers, you can strain it if you want a smooth texture; I don’t mind the pieces of onion so I don’t strain it, but I do remove the bay leaf and cardamom pods.)

Add the 1 cup remaining whole cherries and simmer about 3-5 minutes until slightly thickened.

To serve:  Serve chicken topped with the cherry sauce, alongside White & Yellow Rice.

White & Yellow Rice 

Disclaimer:  I received POM Wonderful Pomegranate Cranberry juice to sample for free; as always, opinions stated are my own.

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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  1. Always fabulous to know about an ethical company, so thanks for the information on POM. Isn’t it cute how we gals just love flowers, specially gorgeous red roses. No wonder you dug deep in the freezer for the cherries Faith – wonderful meal, so inspired to cook some of your middle eastern dishes – this one is ‘on the list’.

  2. Love the idea of fruits like sour cherries with a welcoming meat pairing. And so lucky for the flowers!

  3. Faith–this looks amazingly delicious and those roses…wow. Stunning. Love the combo of sweet and savory in this! xo

  4. This recipe is so fun. Gotta tell you girl, I would need to get myself the roses and cook the meal ;)
    Love the pairing of sweet/tart cherries with savory chicken. xo

  5. sweet man, sweet chicken! i think the whole meat-sauce combo would definitely benefit by a little cooking together. lovely work!

  6. The cherry sauce looks tremendously delicious Faith! Good idea to let them simmer together a bit. The roses are beautiful!

  7. The roses definitely add a special touch :) Wonderful dish and I am crazy for the cherry sauce here…great way to really dress up chicken, beautiful!

  8. This chicken dish and the lovely rice recipe above sound wonderful together. Saffron is such a wonderful spice and I’m envious of your beautiful Persian saffron.

  9. Hi Faith,

    As you can see, I’m still trying to play catch up on your blog. Hope you don’t mind.
    Awww…what a sweetie Mike is. I don’t remember the last time I got flowers from my only knows how to eat hubby. Lol. Even though you were going to make the dish anyways, I’m sure it was just his way of saying thank you for all you’ve been to him, and I don’t mean just a wonderful cook. Love seeing posts like this, just makes me smile inside and out. Great dish, Faith and a great cooking suggestion too. Hanks fir sharing this lovely recipe.

  10. Absolutely stunning dish, I am sure to make this cherry sauce it sound scrumptious!

  11. I bet a few chopped pistachios over the top would be dynamite, too. Kind of a Persian flair to it all. Looks totally divine. ;)

  12. I have cherries in my freezer, but hubby hasn’t brought me those roses yet. :) This chicken sounds really good- the rice is beautiful too!

  13. That looks wonderful, Faith! I recently saw a recipe for tilapia with cherries and almonds and this has the same idea. Protein and cherries…yum! :) And I should drop that hint to Mark, huh? :)

  14. I like all the spices in this wonderful chicken dish, we eat so much chicken that I really do appreciate a new creative recipe. I think I need the red roses to go along, it’s all so pretty together;-)

  15. This does look very good. Almost makes me want to start eating meat again. I’ve seen a recipe like this one in a Persian cookbook that I adore, New Food for Life. Do you know that one? I wonder if you could make it with fish or tempeh for the pescatarian or vegetarian eater?

    1. Stevie, I haven’t heard of that cookbook but I will definitely look for it since I love Persian flavors! I think this dish would be great with tempeh — if you give it a try let me know how it is!

  16. Both the roses and the chicken look beautiful! I am definitely going to try this chicken out!

  17. Adding fruits to cooking makes dishes quite extraordinary. I haven’t tried cherries but I have used several other fruits and the taste is exquisite. I am sure this one was very flavorful as well.

  18. Our cherry is almost ready for picking so I must remember this recipe it sounds delicious. Diane

  19. That looks divine Faith! I love sweet sauces with duck and chicken. And that’s great to know about POM. I had no idea about the company itself.

  20. How romantic!
    And the chicken with cherries looks fabulous. Very complex with all those spices and flavors. We’d love it!

  21. That’s one beautiful chicken dish Faith! I love how you used the POM. Those roses are beautiful as well. Yay for romantic hubbies!

  22. Faith, these photos are stunning! wow, I’m blown away.

  23. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Your cherry sauce sounds incredibly flavorful! Such an elegant meal!

  24. First, I love you Mike for those flowers. They are beautiful.

    I am thinking about making these for Friday night when we usually have chicken. It is awe inspiring.

    I am so glad to have you back.

  25. Awww, how sweet of your hubby to bring you roses. This is the perfect meal with which to thank him :)

  26. oh this looks so good! and what a guy to bring home flowers :)

  27. Looks amazing! I love the idea of those flavors together. Thanks :)

  28. You are a lucky women and he is a lucky man! ;-P

    Beautiful roses and a fabulous dish.



  29. How sweet is Mike! The rose is so pretty and the chicken so yummy!

  30. Heavenly Housewife says:

    What a lovely couple you guys are. This post makes me smile. The picture of the chicken makes me hungry.
    *kisses* HH

  31. Simply delicious! Great idea to use cherries for the sauce. Paired with the white and yellow rice, this meal is one to look forward to.

  32. Sounds wonderful! I know that the Syrians have a wonderful kebab with cherries and tasted it one time in Lebanon at a food festival; they have a special sour cherry that is used in a lot of their dishes (I think in Aleppo). Love mixing sweet and sour in savory dishes like this.

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