> Fesenjan-Style Chicken Stew Recipe With Walnut And Pomegranate Sauce
Fesenjan is a Persian chicken stew recipe with a walnut and pomegranate sauce. It is rich and flavorful with sweet and sour undertones. Over a simple steamed basmati rice with a green vegetable on the side, I am in heaven. I first ate it at a non-Middle Eastern restaurant called Farm Stand in neighboring El Segundo. It was the restaurant’s signature dish and I ordered it whenever I went. My friend Naz has an award-winning blog called “Bottom of the Pot,” where she waxes poetic about Persian food and recipes. Naz is the real deal and if you want a true Fesenjan recipe, you can head over there. I present you an Americanized version that can be made with ingredients from the local Whole Foods and that tastes fantastic. Maybe not like Naz’s, but we love it all the same and that’s the important thing.
- 2 cups walnut pieces
- ¼ cup unrefined cold-pressed olive oil
- 2 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs and/or breasts, patted dry with paper towels and cut into 2 to 3-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 large or 2 small-medium onions, chopped
- 2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 6 Tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- Pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional)
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish (optional)
- Toast the walnuts in a 350 degree oven on a baking sheet until fragrant, 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor fitted with the metal blade and grind until fine crumbs are formed.
- In a large pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with 1 teaspoon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add as much chicken as can fit in the pan in one layer without overcrowding. Cook chicken until browned on both sides, but not cooked through. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and repeat with remaining chicken, if there is any.
- Add the chopped onions to the pan and sauté until tender and translucent, about 6 minutes.
- Stir in the reserved ground walnuts, stock and browned chicken pieces. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, lower heat and simmer covered for 20-30 minutes.
- Stir in the pomegranate molasses, maple syrup, cinnamon, turmeric and 1 teaspoon of salt. Simmer covered for another hour,* stirring occasionally until the chicken is tender and the sauce is thickened.
- Give the stew a good stir to incorporate any oil at the top and taste for seasoning. Serve over rice and garnish if desired with pomegranate seeds and parsley.
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