Khoresht-e Fesenjan (Chicken and Pomegranate Stew)

My husband was recently treated to a traditional Vietnamese feast at work, and since experiencing the cuisine, or really any aspect of other cultures, is difficult here we live, I decided to make it a point to start doing it at home. While it's more about the experience of learning the cultural traditions of others and feeling a sense of connection with fellow human beings, food is an accessible (and delicious) way to carry that out. We started with Iran, and as soon as I came across khoresht-e fesenjan, I knew it had to be our main dish. It's a traditional Persian pomegranate and walnut stew typically made with chicken or duck, though I had to substitute almonds for walnuts since I have a sensitivity. Let's be honest--it's certainly not going to win any beauty pageants, but it tastes exponentially better than it might look, and it's a new family favorite!
20 minutes
1 hour
Show nutritional information
This is our estimate based on online research.
Fat:56 g
Carbohydrates:21 g
Protein:42 g
Calculated per serving.

Serves: 4

Serves: 4decrease servingsincrease servings



Note, these instructions are written assuming the standard serving size, since you have modified the number of servings, these steps may need to be modified for best results
  1. Cut chicken thighs into 1 1/2 - 2-inch chunks and season with turmeric and lightly with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add chicken and cook 2-3 minutes each side, until chicken is no longer pink on the outside and a slight golden brown crust is formed. You want the chicken to get golden brown and not steamed, so work in batches if necessary and do not crowd the pot. Remove chicken to a plate or dish.
  3. Add remaining 2 Tbsp oil and onions to the pot and cook 5 minutes, until onions are just beginning to turn translucent.
  4. Add nut meal and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  5. Add stock/water and pomegranate juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and add chicken. Keep at a gentle simmer for 45 minutes to one hour, stirring occasionally; stew should be thickened/reduced to the consistency of prepared oatmeal, and chicken should be very tender.
  6. Taste and add sweetener (if desired) and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve on its own or over cauliflower rice, white rice or tah dig and garnish individual servings with pomegranate seeds if desired.


I used boneless, skinless thighs because that's what's available to me here in the sticks as far as being of a quality I find acceptable--plus it was easy for the kids to eat. Bone-in, skin-on thighs would work great too--just use what you have! I don't know what options there are for clean pomegranate juice in stores, but I made my own by whirring the seeds of 2-3 pomegranates that felt heavy for their size in my blender and straining the mixture through a fine sieve. Khoresht-e fesenjan is traditionally a somewhat tart dish, but sugar is a common addition for those who prefer it sweeter, and you can add the sweetener of your choice as desired (I have never added any). This recipe will feed 4-6. It fed two adults and four young children with plenty to go around; a few had seconds, and there were no leftovers. If you're strictly feeding adults or older children, I would plan on it serving four.

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