Mains, Recipes, Stews

Pomegranate & Walnut Chicken Stew (Fesenjoon)


When I was first introduced to this recipe, I was surprised by its simplicity. Anyone who’s tried fesenjoon would know that this dish has it all: lip-smacking flavour; surprising textures; and an alluring aroma. All ingredients for a complex dish, right?

Well, it turns out that very few ingredients are needed for fesenjoon, and Mum has come up with a fairly easy way to replicate this special traditional dish.

This is a slow-cooked meal, infused with warm sweet and sour flavours, making it a perfect option for cooler nights. But don’t let that stop you — here we are, enjoying fesenjoon in the middle of the Aussie summer! Some things just can’t wait!

Pomegranate and walnut chicken stew (Fesenjoon)
Serves 4-6

280g walnuts
2tbs olive oil
1  medium brown onion, diced
2 chicken breasts, diced into small pieces
150ml pomegranate molasses or syrup (available from specialty stores; don’t use juice)
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2tbs sugar

1. Crush the walnuts until finely ground. Use a mortar and pestle or a food processor.
2. Heat 2tbs olive oil in a large saucepan (with a lid) and add the diced chicken pieces. Cook on medium heat until golden brown.
3. Add the diced onion to the saucepan and stir until it softens. Reduce to low heat.
4. Add the walnuts, cinnamon, salt and pepper to the pan. Stir for 1-2 minutes.
5. Pour 2 cups of water to the mixture and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, give it a little stir, place lid and cook for 30 minutes.
6. Pour pomegranate syrup and sugar into the stew, mix well and replace lid. Continue cooking for another 25-30 minutes.  The sauce should gradually thicken and turn a dark brown. The ideal flavour is a perfect blend of sweet and sour. If you find it’s too tangy, adjust the flavour with a little more sugar.
7. Serve over Persian rice, and garnish with crushed walnuts, parsley and pomegranate seeds (optional).

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