Fesenjan, Persian Chicken in Walnut Sauce

image-fesenjan-chicken iran persian recipe
A classical Iranian dish, Fesenjan is chicken cooked in a rich walnut and pomegranate sauce.

Scientists from the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania, now proclaim that walnuts aren’t only tasty, they’re also good for you. According to studies cited by an article in the BBC News, the rich-tasting nut is so high in antioxidants that small quantities, eaten daily, may prevent cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Try our almond milk also , another nut-based superfood recipe. That walnuts are part of a healthy diet is no news to Persian cooks.

Walnuts are a well-loved addition to many Iranian foods. A cupful, chopped, might get mixed into a sturdy vegetable omelet; the standard bunch of fresh herbs that accompanies almost every meal might be studded with a handful of halved walnuts that were softened by soaking in cool water. Traditional cookie recipes feature walnuts.

So does the aromatic chicken stew, Fesenjan, which is made for festive occasions. It’s slightly sweet and sour with pomegranate juice.  View our pomegranate-nut salad for another angle on this delicious combination.

Notes: Fesenjan may be made with duck or turkey instead of chicken.You may grind your own walnuts in a food processor, but beware of overworking them – you’ll get walnut butter.

Fesenjan, Persian Stewed Chicken with Walnuts and Pomegranate


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 cup  toasted, ground walnuts
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups pomegranate juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Place chicken and onions in skillet. Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mix in ground walnuts, salt, pomegranate juice, cardamom and cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Dilute the sauce with a few tablespoons of water if it becomes too thick.

Mix in sugar, taste for seasoning, and simmer 30 minutes more.

Serve with rice.


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2 thoughts on “Fesenjan, Persian Chicken in Walnut Sauce”

  1. Miriam Kresh says:

    Foods that resemble human parts are thought to strengthen those parts – hence asparagus as aphrodisiac and chickpeas to increase virility. Walnuts resemble the human brain and are considered brain food. Never heard of them as aphrodisiacs – though I certainly haven’t heard everything.

  2. Nuts are also thought by some to be an aphrodisiac. 🙂 Always like your recipes Miriam!

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