Fesenjan is probably one of the most popular and well-known dishes to come out of the Iranian kitchen. The pomegranate and walnut combo is literally addictive.
Traditionally, this dish is served with basmati rice, we've lightened ours up a bit by serving it with saffron quinoa and crunchy veg and herbs, also known as Sabzi Khordan. The idea is to have a bite of the rich stew, some quinoa and then a hearty bite of fresh herbs or crunchy radish to lighten the whole thing up.
For the chicken:
1 whole chicken approx. 1.5g, jointed
300 g walnuts
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp icing sugar
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
300 ml pomegranate mollasses
Pomegranate seeds (to garnish, optional)
For the quinoa:
200 g quinoa
1 tsp salt
pinch of saffron
salt and pepper to taste
assortment of greens and herbs, radishes, spring onions, thickly sliced cucumber.
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Season the skin of chicken evenly. In a large frying pan or casserole, brown the chicken pieces on all sides until golden (do this in batches if necessary). Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Spread the walnuts on an even layer on a baking tray and toast for approx. 5 mins. Once cool enough to handle pulse the walnuts in a food processor until smooth but not pasty.
3. Heat the butter in the frying pan, gently fry the onions until soft. Add the spices and fry until fragrant. Add the walnuts, pomegranate molasses and 400 ml water, stir together until a thick sauce has formed.
4. Add the chicken pieces, stir to combine, then cover and turn down to a low simmer and cook for approx. 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through but still moist.
5. Meanwhile, make the saffron quinoa: Rinse the quinoa under cold water. Tip into a pot and add 400 ml cold water. Stir in 1 tsp salt and the saffron. Place over medium heat and bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Remove from heat and fluff up with a fork.
6. Serve the fesenjan with saffron quinoa, fresh herbs and crunchy veg like radish or cucumber. Top with parsley and pomegranate seeds.