|Note||Requires Pomegranate Molasses|
Fesenjān, also known as Persian Chicken Stew, is a traditional dish in Persian and Mesopotamian cuisine. It is a thick, tart stew made from pomegranate juice and ground walnuts, and, in this case, is sweetened and made with chicken. This is a tasty dish that is time consuming but well worth the wait.
- 1 to 2 large yellow onions, chopped, (3 cups)
- 2 Tbps unsalted butter
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 5 Tbsp Pomegranate Molasses
- 1/2 pound walnut halves (about 2 cups)
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs and/or breasts
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 Tbsp plus 2 teaspoons of sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Prepare the chicken by trimming the excess fat and cutting it into bit-size pieces. Pat the pieces dry with a paper towel and sprinkle them with some kosher salt.
- Toast the walnuts. You can do that one of two ways. You can either spread them out in a single layer in a large skillet, and toast them on medium high heat, stirring frequently until lightly toasted, or you can spread them out in a single layer in a rimmed baking sheet, and toast at 350°F in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. In either case, once toasted, remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, pulse in a food processor or blender until finely ground.
- In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, pat the chicken pieces dry again and place the chicken pieces in the pan, working in batches if necessary to not crowd the pan, and cook until golden brown on all sides. Sprinkle the chicken with salt while they are cooking.
- Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove the chicken from the pan, set aside. Add a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of oil to the pan. Lower the heat to medium low. Add chopped onions to the pan and sauté until translucent, stirring on occasion to release the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Return the chicken pieces to the pan with the onions. Pour 2 cups of chicken stock over the chicken and onions. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
- Stir in the ground walnuts, pomegranate molasses, sugar, and spices. Cover and cook on very low heat for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so to prevent the walnuts from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Remove from heat and adjust sugar/salt to taste. At this point the chicken should be fall apart tender.
Notes, tips, and variations
- The Pomegranate Molasses takes about an hour to make but it's one of the last things added to the recipe, so if you start that first and then begin on the Fesenjān, it should be done by the time it needs to be added.
- Be careful not to overcook the chicken when you initially cook it in the pan, otherwise it will turn out try by the end. If you're unsure about how long to cook it, go just until no pink shows on the outside; If any pieces are uncooked in the centre, the long stewing process will ensure that they get cooked fully by the end.
- If you make this in a seasoned cast iron pan, the result will take on a deep black colour, but will not taste any different. Be careful, though, because this means that the acidity of the dish is stripping away the seasoning on your cast iron, and you should take care to re-season it soon.
- This recipe was adapted from a recipe on SimplyRecipes posted by Elise Bauer.