Fesenjan Chicken Stew with Walnuts & Pomegranate

Fesenjan Chicken Stew with Walnuts & Pomegranate

Now that the seasons have changed and the air has gotten a bit of a chill, I’ve been craving a different set of flavors. My fresh produce box showed up with pomegranates, and I knew it was the perfect opportunity to search for something a little outside of my comfort zone.


I happened upon this recipe from SimplyRecipes.com.  Fesenjan is not a word I was familiar with, so I turned to Wikipedia.

It is a thick, tart stew made from pomegranate syrup and ground walnuts (see bazha). It is traditionally made with poultry (duck or chicken); but variants using balls of ground meatghormeh cut lamb, fish, or no meat at all are not unusual. Depending on the cooking method, it can have sweet or sour taste. It is served with white or yellow rice (called polo or chelo).

Sounds great to me! After a few modifications, I went ahead with the stew and served it over an herbed rice.


It was so wonderful, you guys! And it had the added unintentional bonus of being gluten free (sans the sides).


As you can see from the photos above, I took the opportunity to add a few other sides from the produce box – caramelized golden beets, and oven roasted sweet potatoes.

Hope you enjoy it!

Fesenjan Chicken Stew with Walnuts & Pomegranate
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cuisine: Chicken Stew
Serves: 6
  • 3 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sugar, plus 2 Tablespoons
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoons black pepper
  • salt
  1. Start by dissolving ¼ cup sugar and 2 Tablespoons lemon juice in 2 cups of pomegranate juice over medium heat.
  2. Simmer on low for approximately 70 minutes, until reduced and thickened like a syrup. (Make sure it doesn't burn!) Set aside.
  3. Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a baking pan. Toast the walnuts at 350 for 10 minutes.
  4. Let walnuts cool, then either pulse in a blender or SMAAASH! with a mortar and pestle until super finely ground.
  5. Add 1 Tablespoon butter and 2 Tablespoons olive oil to a very large sauce pan.
  6. Cook chicken over medium-high heat until golden brown on both sides (sprinkle chicken lightly with salt while it is cooking).
  7. Remove chicken from pan and add an additional 1 Tablespoon of butter and 1 Tablespoon oil.
  8. Reduce temperature to medium and sautee onions until translucent.
  9. Add chicken back in with the onions and add chicken stock.
  10. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  11. Stir in SMASHED! walnuts, reduced pomegranate mixture, 2 Tablespoons of sugar, and remaining spices.
  12. Cover and cook over low heat until significantly reduced or for 60 minutes. (Make sure to stir occasionally to keep it from sticking).
  13. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve over rice.

Herbed Rice
Recipe type: Dinner
  • 2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cubes of chicken bouillon
  • Zest from one orange
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 Tablespoons SMASHED! almonds (take slivered almonds and mash them in a mortar and pestle until they become a powder).
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamon
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  1. Throw everything except the butter into a rice cooker.
  2. Use your "white rice" setting and wait until the self timer goes off.
  3. Pick out the cinnamon stick and cloves.
  4. Add butter and stir well.
  5. Serve & enjoy!