Fesenjan (Khoresht Fesenjan, Khoresht-e-Fesenjan, Fesenjoon) is an Iranian stew flavored with pomegranate molasses and toasted walnuts. This is a great dish to make ahead of time for leftovers. The flavor only got better the next day. When I was researching this recipe, I saw a great variation in the cooking time. The stew needs to simmer long enough to cook the chicken, thicken, and release the oil from the walnuts. The longer it spends on the stove (over low heat), the more the color will deepen and give the flavors a chance to intensify. I simmered the stew for about an hour. It could have gone a bit longer to darken the color. Make sure when stirring to scrape the bottom to keep the walnuts from burning. This recipe serves 4, but can easily be doubled.
Duck or small meatballs can be used in place of the chicken. For vegetarians, you can omit the chicken and substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock.
I was able to find Pomegranate Molasses at Whole Foods. It is also be found in International markets featuring Middle Eastern food. It is also available on Amazon: Al Wadi Pomegranate Sauce, 14 Ounce and Cortas Pomegranate Molasses, 10-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 4).
Here is also a way to make your own pomegranate molasses.
Fesenjan (Persian Pomegranate and Walnut Stew)
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
1 1/2 cups halved walnuts
3 tablespoons ghee or olive oil, divided
1 large onion, diced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups chicken stock, low sodium
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
pinch freshly ground black pepper
Long grain or saffron rice for serving
Pomegranate arils and chopped fresh parsley for garnish
In a large skillet, toast walnuts over medium heat until golden and fragrant, 8-10 minutes. Remove to a bowl and allow to cool. Transfer to a food processor and process just until fine.
In a large pot, drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Once heated, add onions and cook, stirring often, until softened.
In another large pan or the skillet used to toast walnuts, drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chicken, in batches if necessary, and season with the salt. Cook just until browned on all sides. Transfer to the large pot with the softened onions. Add chicken stock and increase heat to bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer.
Stir in the pomegranate molasses, honey, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, and ground walnuts. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened and oil has risen to the surface, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Season with salt if needed. If too sour, add a little honey and if too sweet, add a little more pomegranate molasses.
Serve with rice. Garnish with pomegranate arils and parsley.