Persian Chicken in Pomegranate Sauce - Khoreshe Fesenjan

  • 10 chicken thighs, extra skin and fat removed
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon Chicken Salt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups walnuts, very finely chopped. Use a food processor if you have one. Stop before the walnuts become a paste.
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon smoky hot paprika or regular paprika
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup fresh pomegranate juice (Pom brand is very good)
  • 2-3 tablespoons pomegranate syrup
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley for garnish


1. Sauté the chicken in the butter, sprinkling each side with the poultry seasoning or za’tar, salt and pepper, until light brown on all sides. Remove to a plate.

2. Remove all but 3 tablespoons of the combined chicken fat and butter. Sauté the onions in the remaining fat until golden brown. Add the tomato paste and/or harissa and sauté for a few minutes. Add the walnuts and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly so as not to burn the walnuts.

3. Add the stock, cinnamon, paprika, lemon juice and pomegranate juice and syrup. Cover and let cook on a low fire for about 35 minutes. Taste the sauce and add salt if necessary and sugar if the sauce is too sour for your taste.

4. Arrange the chicken in the sauce. Cover and let simmer for 20-25 minutes. Taste for seasoning. I needed to add more salt and a bit more lemon juice.

5. Decorate with parsley and serve with rice.

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