The hotter it gets, the cooler I stay, thanks to my growing collection of slow cookers. From zero just two years ago, I now own three: a 7-quart behemoth with a nonstick, stovetop-safe insert; a 4-1/2 quart oval that holds a whole chicken, though I've never used it to cook one; and a 3-quart that's getting more everyday use in our two-person household than I ever imagined it would. No matter how hot and sticky the weather gets, I can manage five minutes of prep in my overheated kitchen, and that's all it takes to make this slow cooker pomegranate chicken salad topped with toasted pine nuts and dried cherries. It tastes best at room temperature, which makes it perfect for picnics or entertaining; you can cook the chicken a few days ahead of time, refrigerate, and let it come back to room temperature while you assemble the salad. If you've never cooked with pomegranate molasses, start with this recipe. You'll love how the tangy, slightly sweet and slightly sour taste perks up plain old chicken.
Slow cooker pomegranate chicken salad
1-3/4 to 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
1 small onion, sliced
2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger root
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 romaine lettuce hearts, chopped
1/4 cup unsweetened dried cherries or dried cranberries
In a 3-quart slow cooker, combine the chicken, onion, pomegranate molasses, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir everything to distribute the ingredients.
Cover and cook on HIGH for 2.5 hours, or on LOW for 5 hours.
Remove the chicken to a platter and set aside to cool. The liquid in the cooker should be a nice consistency to dress the salad, but if it's too thin, set the cooker to HIGH and cook, uncovered, until the sauce reduces slightly. If the liquid is too thick, add 1 tablespoon of water.
While the chicken is cooling to room temperature, set a dry nonstick frying pan on the stovetop. Over medium heat, toast the pine nuts for 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan frequently, until the nuts are lightly browned. Remove from heat.
To assemble the salad, arrange the lettuce on a platter or in individual serving bowls. Top with a few pieces of chicken, and a sprinkling of nuts and dried cherries or cranberries. Pour some of the sauce over each portion, and serve.
More recipes on The Perfect Pantry:
Fennel, apple and walnut salad with pomegranate-orange dressing
Grilled tamarind chicken
Slow cooker Filipino chicken adobo
Slow cooker hoisin chicken and slaw sandwiches
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Roasted root vegetables with pomegranate molasses and rosemary, from Food Blogga
Chicken wings with pomegranate molasses, from Chicho's Kitchen
Fesenjan: Persian pomegranate walnut chicken stew, from She Simmers
Pomegranate and pistachio chicken, from Not Quite Nigella
Eggplant lentil stew with pomegranate molasses, from Simply Recipes
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