• Yield: Serves 4

Besides being gorgeous, this dish is incredibly complex. The pomegranate, yogurt, and herbs play up each other’s hidden floral notes, while the lactones in the chicken blend seamlessly with fruity lactones and esters in the pomegranate. If you’re feeling bold, try substituting duck breast or boneless quail for the chicken in this recipe.


  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lime

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro stems

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

  • 1 jalapeño chile, minced

  • One 3-to 4-inch stalk lemongrass, thinly sliced, or several dashes lemongrass bitters (recipe follows)

  • Kosher salt

  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • Olive oil


  • Sliced avocado

  • Fresh cilantro leaves

  • Fresh mint leaves

  • Pomegranate seeds

The Flavor Matrix The Flavor Matrix by James Briscione


In a large bowl, combine the garlic, lime zest and juice, yogurt, cilantro stems, mint, jalapeño, and lemongrass. Mix well and season to taste with salt. Reserve 1/4 cup of the yogurt mixture.

Add the chicken to the remaining yogurt and mix to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

Heat a grill until medium-hot and oil the grates well. Set a wire rack over a baking sheet and place it next to the grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade and wipe off any excess. Discard the marinade. Lightly coat the chicken with oil and season with salt. Grill the chicken over the heat, flipping it once, about 12 minutes per side, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 160°F on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the chicken to the wire rack to rest for 3 to 5 minutes before serving; it should reach 165°F.

Serve the chicken garnished with the reserved yogurt, avocado, cilantro, mint, and pomegranate seeds.

* * *

Lemongrass Bitters

Makes about 1 cup

These lemongrass bitters are delicious in cocktails, but you can also use them to up your baking game: Add the bitters to any recipe that calls for vanilla extract, in addition to or in place of the vanilla. They are especially good in chocolate desserts and cookies.


  • 1 stalk lemongrass

  • 8 pods cardamom

  • 1 cinnamon stick, crushed

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds

  • 4 branches fresh rosemary

  • 1 cup grain alcohol or high-proof vodka


Trim the root end from lemongrass and discard. Cut 3 inches of the pale stalk starting from the trimmed end, and slice crosswise as thin as possible. (Reserve the remaining lemongrass stalk and leaves for another use.) Combine the lemongrass, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, and rosemary in a glass jar. Add the alcohol and seal tightly. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Store in a cool, dark place for 3 weeks, shaking the jar vigorously every couple of days to promote infusion.

After 3 weeks, strain the bitters through cheesecloth into a clean glass jar or bottle. Seal tightly and store in a cool, dark place. Bitters will keep almost in definitely.

Recipes from The Flavor Matrix by James Briscione Copyright © 2018 by James Briscione. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.