I’m so excited about this recipe today! One of my favorite Iranian dishes is on the menu!
This is a recipe that has been around for many moons and is almost older than the hills. Fesenjan or Fesenjoon can vary slightly from family to family. An aromatic chicken stew that has been beautifully flavored with walnuts and pomegranates. I enjoy serving mine over a bed of saffron rice that I make using jasmine rice and a few pinches of saffron threads. With the cooler months approaching, this is an ideal meal to enjoy.
For this recipe, I’ve tried to simplify it to fit our “modern” life and what ingredients are readily available. I’ve discovered that if you are unable to find pomegranate syrup, sometimes called pomegranate molasses, a traditional ingredient. Not to worry, there are options! I like to make my own syrup and bring about 1 – 2 cups of my favorite pomegranate juice to a boil and allow to gently boil for about 30 – 45 minutes until reduced down and it works perfectly. Other options are to use concentrated cranberry juice, or you can make a mixture of 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar mixed with 2 tablespoons of honey for every 1/4 cup of pomegranate syrup needed.
The flavor you are looking for is a tart, sweet flavor mixed with finely ground walnuts which really makes this dish stand out.
I have enjoyed making so many recipes using walnuts, and I always look for California walnuts to use in my goodies. Walnuts are a brilliant little nut, and they happily lend themselves to not only sweet desserts but also many savory dishes. Another great reason to use California walnuts is because they provide us with a good bit of healthy omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid (2.5 grams per ounce). For more recipe inspiration and information about walnuts, check out California Walnuts. California walnuts certainly aren’t shy of showing us how amazing they really are.
So enjoy the walnuts, a mighty tasty and healthy addition to your recipes.
- Olive Oil
- 2 Chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 large Onion, finely diced
- 3 cups Chicken Broth PLUS 1 cup Water
- 1 cup of Pomegranate syrup (2 cups of Pomegranate Juice boiled & reduced by half)
- Sugar, to taste (about 1 Tbls, but I rarely add sugar), optional
- 1 cup California Walnuts, toasted and ground fine
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tsp Allspice, ground (or 1/4 tsp each of Cinnamon and Nutmeg)
- 1/2 tsp Tumeric, ground
- Zest & Juice of 1 Orange
- Flat Leaf Parsley, Walnut pieces & Pomegranate Arils (seeds), optional
- In a dry non-stick skillet, toast the Walnuts for about 3 - 5 minutes, set aside to cool. Then pulse and grind to a powder in a food processor or spice mill, be careful not to over grind or you'll end up with walnut butter.
- In a large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat, add 1 -2 Tbsp Olive Oil. When oil is hot, add the diced Chicken, season with Salt and Pepper and cook until starting to turn golden brown. Remove Chicken and set aside.
- Heat a little more Olive Oil over medium heat and add the diced Onions, saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Return the Chicken to the dutch oven with the onions, add the Chicken Broth and Water, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Add the ground Walnuts, Pomegranate syrup, Sugar (if using), Spices and Orange Zest and Juice, stirring well to combine. Cover and continue to cook over low heat for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Garnish, if desired, with Pomegranate Arils, Walnut Pieces and chopped Flat Leaf Parsley. Can be enjoyed on it's own with a nice flat bread or served over rice, such as Jasmine or Basmati.
Pomegranate Syrup Alternatives:I like to make my own syrup and bring about 2 cups of my favorite pomegranate juice to a boil and allow to gently boil for about 30 - 45 minutes until reduced down and it works perfectly. Other options are to use a concentrated cranberry juice, or you can make a mixture of 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar mixed with 2 tablespoons of honey for every 1/4 cup of pomegranate syrup needed.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Stacey is a Southern girl with a taste for travel, thriving on the discovery of the world through food. After spending many years traveling and living overseas, she’s now back home in her beloved deep south enjoying life with her three little ones and loving the adventure. She’s a food stylist and food photographer, as well as, the creative behind Little Figgy Food, where she loves to inspire others to try new flavors and foodie techniques.