Featured Friday: Persian Pomegranate and Walnut Chicken Stew

Stews generally aren’t the most attractive of foods, but they stick around because what they lack in appearance they DEFINITELY make up for in taste.  This stew was an absolute treat to make.  I was standing over the stove, fanning the aromas toward my nose and thinking ‘who needs Bath & Body Works when aromatic food like this exists?’.  It was truly a blissful experience, and I have to thank my foodie friend Samantha at Quick Feet Good Eats for sharing it.  Her blog is one of my favorites and she is one of the foodie friends I have made during this whole blogging experience.  And I think that’s one of the things I love most about food blogging…sharing recipes and learning from people who love food and cooking just as much as I do.  Would I have come across Persian stew if I didn’t read her blog?  My guess is probably not, so cheers to food blogging.  Here’s how to make yourself some stew:

1½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
2 cups walnuts, raw
1 large yellow onion, chopped
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ cup molasses*
2 cups pomegranate juice*
salt and pepper

*In the original recipe you are supposed to use 3/4 cup pomegranate molasses, which apparently is available in ethnic grocery stores.  You can also make your own, but it takes an hour and I was impatient.  So I just substituted 1/2 cup molasses and used the pomegranate juice as my braising liquid instead of the water, and let it all reduce down.  It worked great.

In a food processor, grind the walnuts into a fine meal, until it looks like this:

Oh man.  Staring down into this lovely bowl of ground walnut just made me want to abort operation Persian Stew and make baklava.  But I restrained myself.  Well, I can’t make baklava anyway since I gave up dessert for Lent (but don’t worry, I will still be posting dessert here and there, as I have some dessert recipes waiting patiently in my drafts from before Lent began).

In a large skillet, saute the ground walnuts and chopped onion with a good pinch of salt and pepper over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan frequently.  During these 15 minutes we are both letting the onion soften up and toasting the walnuts, giving them a nuttier and slightly smoky flavor.  If you don’t scrape the bottom of the pan often, the walnuts will burn.  Sorry for the bad photo, but here’s how it should look:

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add it to the party along with the pomegranate juice and molasses.  Bring to a gentle boil, cover with the lid, and turn the heat down so that it will simmer away for 20 minutes.  Flip the chicken to the other side, and simmer for another 20 minutes.

Turn the stove off, then shred up the chicken with a couple of forks, and add it back to the sauce.  Serve with rice or some other form of starch (maybe some couscous would be nice too).  Thanks for reading, and thanks to Samantha at Quick Feet Good Eats for sharing this recipe!  Have a lovely weekend =)

Click here for the printable recipe.

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10 Responses to Featured Friday: Persian Pomegranate and Walnut Chicken Stew

  1. Anthony says:

    Maybe it will taste better if you actually fry your rice with the chicken? But anyway, it looks really good!
    For more interesting recipes, check at:
    Hope you find recipes that make you want to have a try!

    • Joanne says:

      Hi Anthony, That’s an interesting idea of putting the rice with the chicken! I bet the sauce would really permeate the rice that way. Thanks for the idea…definitely trying it next time!

  2. I’m so happy you liked this dish as much as I did! And thank you so so much for the kind words. This is one of the main reasons I LOVE food blogging!

  3. norma says:

    Greta looking dish…

  4. Cookette says:

    Love the combination of flavors!

  5. Tiffany says:

    There’s something called “Pomegranate Concentrate” which is found in Persian Markets (which aren’t as hard to find as you might think! Some people prefer to use the concentrate over the molasses 😉

Enlighten us all with your food thoughts and wisdom =)

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