Monday, August 23, 2010

Khoresh Fesenjan (Chicken Stew with Pomegranate Sauce)

A couple of years ago I spent Ramadan in Istanbul. Though I am not a religious person I was frequently invited to break fast with my Turkish family which extended to include everyone I met. Having the same parents is not required to adopt a brother. I am not kidding, I have never in my life experienced such warmth and hospitality. 

Of course I collected recipes as I had some of the most wonderful food of my life. Breaking fast is an ancient tradition and the recipes at this time of year make every meal a party. Most nights there was Pide bread and lentil soup at the beginning then any number of meze followed by a main course. This was one of my absolute favorites. 
Whatever your religion or lack thereof it would not hurt to fast for a a day and be doubly grateful for your food as you break bread with friends.
Chicken with a thick walnut and pomegranate sauce.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, cut up
2 white onions, thinly sliced
2 stalks of chopped celery
1/2 pound walnuts, toasted and finely
ground in a food processor
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups pomegranate juice
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon corriander
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place chicken and onions in skillet, and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in pureed walnuts, celery, salt, pomegranate juice, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. (If the sauce becomes too thick, stir in 1/4 cup warm water.) Taste for salt and seasoning and serve with Basmati Rice.      


Not Alton Brown said...

The Food Network needs interesting Chefs like you. Your website is so wonderfully whimsical, we seem to go from country to country in a week. It is truly world cuisine.

Rachel said...

I approached this recipe with a little fear and a lot of trust. You have never steered me wrong in the past, but a sauce of walnut and pomegranate?

I send kisses, this was divine. I am going to repeat it next week for a dinner party. What a winner.