Fesenjan chicken

Fesenjan chicken

The Art Of The Larder
Mike Lusmore

This is an Iranian chicken stew or casserole. Absolutely worth its weight in gold in storecupboard terms, it is flavoured with pomegranate molasses and ground walnuts. Intensely fruity, fesenjan is best served with some plain boiled rice.


Quantity Ingredient
8 chicken thighs, bone in and skin removed
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
2 large onions, finely diced
400g walnuts, finely ground in a food processor, (keep back 40g to sprinkle just crushed on top of the cooked stew)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/6-1/4 a nutmeg, freshly grated
1 litre chicken stock or water
3 tablespoons honey
200ml pomegranate molasses
1 pomegranate, seeds only, to garnish (optional)


  1. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the chicken. Increase the temperature and stir well to ensure you seal the chicken thighs on both sides. Once they are gently browned, remove from the pan and set to one side on a plate.
  3. Add the onions to the same pan and cook until soft and translucent, about 8–10 minutes.
  4. Add the ground walnuts and spices and cook for 1 minute more.
  5. Add the stock or water to the pan, then return the chicken thighs and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 45 minutes over a low heat.
  6. Add the honey and pomegranate molasses and stir well, then cook over a low heat for about another hour, stirring thoroughly every 20 minutes to ensure the walnuts do not stick to the base of the pan.
  7. Serve with the pomegranate seeds and crushed walnuts sprinkled on top.
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