Fesenjan is one of the most well-known Persian dishes, and it’s no surprise why. This celebratory chicken stew is flavored with with walnuts, lime and pomegranate juice, and is an ultimate comfort food.
To watch Jennifer Abadi make this Persian chicken stew, watch the video below!
For the chicken:
- 4-5 Tbsp vegetable, canola or sunflower oil
- 1 ¼ cups walnuts, finely ground
- 3 pounds chicken pieces (dark meat only: legs and/or thighs), skin removed
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp sweet paprika
- 1-1¼ tsp kosher or sea salt
- ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 ½-2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 ½ Tbsp tomato paste dissolved in 1 cup cold water
- 1 ¼ cups pure pomegranate juice
- ¼ cup lime juice (about 3 large limes)
- ½ cup cilantro leaves (optional)
- 2-3 Tbsp cilantro leaves (optional)
- steamed rice
Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a small frying pan and cook the ground walnuts until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer walnuts to a small bowl and set aside.
In a 3-quart saucepan heat 2 Tbsp oil over high heat for 1 minute. Add the chicken pieces and lightly brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken pieces and place them on a plate.
Add the onions and cook over high heat until they become soft and transparent, but not brown, about 10 minutes. If the saucepan seems a bit dry, add 1-2 more Tbsp oil.
Mix in the browned walnuts, cinnamon, both types of paprika, salt, pepper and brown sugar.
Pour in the tomato liquid, pomegranate juice and lime juice and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a medium-low heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Return the chicken pieces to the saucepan, sprinkle with the cilantro leaves (if desired) and simmer partially covered over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook until sauce thickens into a gravy and chicken becomes very soft, about 45 minutes.
Serve hot over steamed rice.