Khoresht Fesenjaan (Persian Chicken with Pomegranate Sauce)

    3 hours 20 mins

    This decadent chicken dish is stewed in a pomegranate and walnut sauce and comes from Persia. As they do in Iran, serve Khoresht Fesenjaan with rice.

    34 people made this

    Serves: 12 

    • 100ml vegetable oil
    • 4 red onions, thinly sliced
    • 1.25kg skinless chicken thighs or breasts
    • 450ml hot water
    • 600ml pomegranate juice
    • 500g chopped walnuts
    • 2 tablespoons freshly ground cardamom
    • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon saffron powder
    • salt to taste
    • 1 butternut squash, seeded and diced (optional)

    Prep:20min  ›  Cook:3hr  ›  Ready in:3hr20min 

    1. Heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan over medium heat. Sauté onions until they start to brown. Add chicken pieces, and fry until lightly browned on the outside. Pour in the water, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 30 minutes, adding more water if necessary to keep the mixture from drying out.
    2. Preheat the oven to 160 C. Combine the walnuts and pomegranate juice in the container of a mixie. Process into a purée. This can be done in small batches if necessary. Add this mixture to the simmering chicken mixture. Season with cardamom, cinnamon, saffron powder and salt. If using, stir in the cubed squash. Transfer the entire mixture to a 23x33cm (9x13 in) baking dish.
    3. Bake loosely covered for 2 1/2 hours in the preheated oven. Serve with white rice.


    You can use a variety of chicken pieces for this dish.

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    Reviews in English (25)


    Tried this recipe last night and -- overall -- a tasty dish. I’ve had this several times in my favorite NYC Persian restaurant and would like to offer a few suggestions: 1.) In order to balance the potentially overpowering taste of the various spices, include about two tablespoons of lemon juice (or the juice of one lemon) and two or three tablespoons of sugar. This helps balance the flavor and seems more authentic to the dish – I think. 2.) Also, do watch the cooking time. Mine was ready in about 1 hour and 45 minutes. This is pretty close to the authentic way of preparing the dish. It is, however, an acquired taste.  -  30 May 2005  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    I have to be careful to rate this for what it was and not how it was received. My husband took 2 bites and was done! My grownup daughter loved it and took home half the leftovers! My younger kids poured a bowl of cereal instead. This is not something to make for the picky eater. You really need to love Middle Eastern food. If you I do.. you will love this recipe! I thought it was wonderful. I did have a hard time fitting it all in a 9 x 13 pan (no way!) I used a larger pan and it still spilled over a bit. I also cooked it much less than the recipe called for and still thought I had cooked it just a few minutes too long. Watch the time carefully. Mine was done with a full half hour to spare and I even cooked it at a little bit lower temp because I was going to be leaving the house. I came home with 30 minutes on the clock and wished I had taken it out about even 10 minutes earlier. I loved the spices. I wouldn't change that as others have said. You will either love it or hate it! If you know what to expect...and are actually looking for this type of will rave.  -  29 Jan 2005  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    This recipe sounded delicious but I found there are some problems with it. First, the cardamom TOTALLY OVERPOWERED the entire dish. Maybe I used the wrong kind (I don't think so) or it happened because I used the spice rather than freshly ground (also don't think so), but it really took over the entire dish. Second, next time I would use about 1/2 or 3/4 as much walnut, because it made the juice too thick. That part is just a preference. I'm going to try thins again sans cardamom or with just a dash.  -  01 Nov 2004  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)