Since ancient times, Persians prepared Fesenjan, also known as khoresht-e fesenjan, for special occasions in Iran.
This dish is traditionally made with duck but can be prepared with chicken smothered in pomegranate walnut sauce.
According to A Taste of Persia: an Introduction to Persian Cooking, “Fourth-century Persian manuals describe the domestication of the male duck, fed on hemp seeds and the butter of olives. The finest meal possible was one of these ducks served in a pomegranate sauce.” For their version of this recipe, visit: E CookBooks. Also, you can find some tips for this dish from the author Najmieh Batmanglij at Epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/seasonalcooking/fall/cooknow_pomegranate/recipes/food/views/Pomegranate-Khoresh-231918
We referenced a few recipes and created a blended version with chicken (see below). It was delicious and we loved the Pomegranate Walnut Sauce.
Pomegranate Khoresht-e Fesenjan
- 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil OR butter
- 2 small red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 pounds boneless chicken pieces
- 1/2 cup of pomegranate paste diluted in 2 1/2 cups of water or 4 cups of fresh pomegranate juice
- 1/2 pound of walnuts (shelled, toasted)
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground cardamom
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 4 large carrots or 1 lb of butternut squash (seeded), peeled and cut into thin strips or cubes
- 1/4 tsp ground saffron threads dissolved in 1 tablespoon of hot water OR 1/4 teaspoon saffron powder
- salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or pot over medium heat. Sautee onions for about 5 mins. until translucent, starting to brown. Add chicken pieces, and fry for about 15 mins. until lightly golden brown. Add the carrots or squash and sautee for about 2 more mins.
- After toasting the walnuts, finely grind them in a food processor. Add the following ingredients into the pot or skillet with the simmering chicken mixture: ground walnuts, sugar, diluted pomegranate paste or juice. Mix well to create a creamy sauce with balanced taste of sweet and sour. Season with cardamom, cinnamon, saffron powder or saffron water, and salt.
- Cover and simmer for 40 minutes over very low heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon.
- Serve Khoresht Fesenjan while hot and present it on top of a bed of saffron steamed rice.
- Garnish with 1/2 cup of fresh pomegranate seeds and/or 1/4 cup of toasted walnuts (optional)