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Persian Pomegranate and Walnut Stew with Chicken (Fesenjan)

Persian Pomegranate and Walnut Stew with Chicken (Fesenjan)

This sweet and sour dish may not look appetizing, but it is positively delicious!!! Recipe by Laura Bashar of Family Spice



  1. Purée until smooth in a food processor:
    • 1 large onion , peeled & quartered
  2. Add in and purée with the onions:
    • 1 1/2 cup walnuts
  3. Scrape down sides of the bowl and pulse in the food processor until onions and walnuts are completely blended and a thick paste is formed.
  4. In a large non-stick skillet, over medium-high heat scrape out the walnut-onion mixture and smooth it evenly on to the bottom of the skillet.
  5. When it starts to brown, stir and remix the paste and smooth it again evenly on to the bottom of the skillet.
  6. Reduce heat to low and repeat step 5 every 10-15 minutes.
  7. Cook until walnut-onion mixture is deep brown in color and crumbly, about 2 hours.
  8. In the mean time, wash and pat dry with paper towels:
    • 1 1/2 lb chicken breast, boneless skinless
  9. Season both sides of the chicken with:
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper, ground
  10. In a different non-stick skillet heat over medium-high and add:
    • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  11. When oil is hot, add seasoned chicken.
  12. Cook until browned, approximately 5-7 minutes.
  13. Turn chicken breast over and brown the other side.
  14. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover skillet and cook until chicken breasts are almost completely done, approximately 15 minutes.
  15. Remove from heat.
  16. Cut chicken breast into strips.
  17. Stir into walnut-onion mixture:
    • 1/2 tsp saffron , grounded
    • 1 1/2 cup pomegranate concentrate
  18. Add chicken breast strips and simmer until color darkens, about 20 minutes.
  19. If sauce needs thinning, drizzle in as needed:
    • 1/4 cup water
  20. Different brands of pomegranate concentrate vary in flavor and sweetness. If your pomegranate concentrate is too sour, stir in little by little:
    • 2 TBS granulated sugar , if needed
  21. Pour stew into serving dish.
  22. Garnish with:
    • 3 TBS pomegranate arils

Persian Pomegranate and Walnut Stew with Chicken (Fesenjan) Detail

Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 2 1/2 hours

Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 6
Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Serving Suggestions: Serve with basmati rice.

Cooking Tips: You can also shred the chicken and then add it to stew. This is a very rich and filling dish that your guests will love! For a vegetarian version, do not add chicken.