The Road Home
Khoresh-e Fesenjan Ba Jujeh (Chicken Pomegranate Stew)Ingredients:
- ½ pound (2 cups) walnuts finely chopped
- 5 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 2 large onions peeled and thinly sliced
- 12 chicken thighs, bone-in (approximately 5 to 5 ½ pounds)
- 2 cups pomegranate juice
- 2 cups Syrah wine
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoons saffron dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
- 2 tablespoons grape molasses or sugar (optional)
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
- 3 tablespoons toasted walnuts (optional)
- Toast the walnuts at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a large pot or Dutch oven (8 quarts is ideal) over medium heat until very hot. Sauté the onions until they are glassy and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and let cool in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Add 1-2 tablespoons of additional oil and brown the chicken (you will need to do this in two batches).
- Remove the chicken from the pot into a medium bowl and set aside.
- Puree the onions and the walnuts in a food processor. Add 1 cup of pomegranate juice, pomegranate molasses, salt, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, saffron water and grape molasses (or sugar) and mix well to a creamy paste.
- Pour the mixture into a medium size bowl and add the remaining pomegranate juice and wine.
- Add the onion-walnut mixture to the Dutch oven and stir well. Add the chicken and gently mix again (if stirred to aggressively, the skin will come off the chicken).
- Bring Mixture to a boil and give the stew a good stir. If you are cooking the stew in an oven-safe Dutch oven or pot, cover and cook in the middle of the oven at 350 for one hour, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. You may also cook the stew on the stove top on low for an hour.
- Taste the khoresh sauce after the first hour. It should be sweet and sour and have the consistency of heavy cream. Adjust the taste by adding more pomegranate molasses for sour, and more grape molasses (or sugar) for sweetness.
- Stir the stew well again and place back in the oven until the chicken is thoroughly cooked the sauce is the thickness of heavy cream.
- Remove from the oven and let cool uncovered before refrigerating (covered) overnight. When ready to serve, re-heat in the Dutch oven at 350 degrees. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, heat on stovetop with a low-medium flame, stirring occasionally.
- Serve over basmati rice or, if you're feeling ambitious, Chelow, a saffron steamed rice with a golden crust. You may also add sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and toasted walnuts (optional).