Friday, April 11, 2014

Pomegranate Chicken (Fesenjan)

A while back my sister-in-law sent me this recipe. I don't know if she knew how obsessed with pomegranate juice I am, but I. am. obsessed. It has a tart, full taste with a little bit of citrus and a complex sort of mellow body to it. Basically, its complex, distinct, and very good. Sip it slowly and let it roll around your mouth to really grasp the full extent of it. 

While I normally seek inspiration from others, I rarely keep a recipe as I found it. It's nothing to do against the original creator - I just flat out like to tinker with food.

However, I tried slightly modifying this once, and just wasn't happy with the outcome. Dana, on her blog Minimalist Baker, has created a wonderful dish. It's a sweet, nutty, and savory sauce with chunks of tender chicken. It has a kick of pomegranate flavor that really ties in a lot of the curry like turmeric and sweetness from the honey. 

It can be served with naan, rice, or cauliflower rice (my favorite).  And please, for the love of good food, serve this with a glass of pomegranate juice. 

POM Juice in it's glory. Photo rights go to this site.
As I made almost no adaptations to this, and her post is so well written, I will post the original recipe in it's original form, giving her full credit. For her full description of this dish, and all her tips, tricks, and suggestions, please visit her blog, or blog post Fesenjan (Pomegranate Chicken)

I hope you enjoy! 

A classic Persian dish made simple with a few time-saving techniques. Vegan optional and naturally gluten free. Plus, healthy and filling and perfect for gatherings or everyday weeknight meals.
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Persian
Serves: 3-4
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3-4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses (or 1 8-oz. bottle pom juice)
  • 1.5 cups walnut halves
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1.5-inch cubes*
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock*
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • pinch each cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper
  • Optional: 1 cup uncooked white or brown rice (I used jasmine) for serving
  • Optional: 1 cup pomegranate arils and fresh parsley for garnish

  1. If you don’t have pomegranate molasses, make your own by pouring pomegranate juice into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, add a pinch of salt and a little lime juice and simmer for 45 minutes until reduced. Set aside to cool. You will have leftovers.
  2. Next, toast walnuts in a shallow pan over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant. Once cooled, transfer to a food processor or blender and blend into a fine meal. Set aside.
  3. Next, if you’re serving with rice, start by rinsing 1 cup rice in a fine mesh strainer. Bring 2 cups water to a boil, add rice and a pinch of salt. Cover and turn to low. White rice should take 18-25 minutes; brown rice 30-40. Don’t open lid until it’s done. Fluff and set aside, covered.
  4. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot add 1 Tbsp olive oil and onions. Cook until soft, stirring occasionally.
  5. In a separate pan over medium heat, cook the chicken in two batches in a bit of olive oil. Once browned, add it directly to the pot with the onions. Salt chicken while browning.
  6. Once all the chicken is in the pot, add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat and add pomegranate molasses, honey, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and walnuts. Simmer for 15-25 minutes or more, until desired thickness is reached. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  8. Serve over rice or with naan. Garnish with pomegranate arils and parsley. Store leftovers covered in the fridge. Should keep for several days.

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