Fesenjan (Walnut Stew)

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Fesenjan (Walnut Stew)

Someone special in my life is Iranian and is unable to travel back home. As many of you know food is a very important memory connection to home and your loved ones. This is why I cook in the first place. I wish everyone to feel connected and loved when they taste certain dishes. I cooked this for him because, I hope to spread a little love with every bite. Fesenjan is a walnut and pomegranate stew that is traditionally cooked during Iranian holidays. Fesenjan is traditionally cooked with lamb or duck which are equally delicious.  It is unique in flavor and presents a sweet, savory, and tart flavor. My recipe strays a little form the traditional but still sticks to the basic flavors of the dish.


4-6 chicken breasts

1 large yellow onion

2 cloves garlic

1 sweet potato

1 cup pomegranate molases

2 cups walnuts

2 tablespoons walnut oil or extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon saffron + 2 tablespoons warm water

2 cups chicken broth

serve with steamed rice


Prepare the pomegranate molasses. Instructions are below. You may also buy this at any Middle Eastern or Indian market.


Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic. Add the Oil to a dutch oven and turn on to medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes until translucent.

Cube the chicken and add it to the dutch oven. Grate the sweet potato on a large grate and add this to the dutch oven.


Place the walnuts on a sheet pan and toast in an oven until lightly browned. Using a grinder or a food processor pulse until grainy and no large chunks but don’t make it a paste.


Place the saffron into a small dish with the 2 tablespoons of warm water in it and let sit for 5 minutes.

Once the Chicken is browned all over add the cinnamon and stir. Next add the chicken broth. Add the saffron and the walnuts. Stir.


Lastly add the pomegranate molasses and stir and bring to a boil. Lower the heat after it has reached a boil to medium low and place the lid on. Let this cook for 30 minutes before taking the lid off. When you remove the lid there should be a layer of walnut oil over the top. Stir to combine the oil and cook another 15 minutes with out the lid on. The end result should be dark brown like milk chocolate.


Serve over a bead of steamed basmati rice and as always with all stews it is better the second day.

Pomegranate molases: 

4 cups pomegranate juice

1/4 cup honey

juice of 1 lemon

Place all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a roaring boil. Boil for 30 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half and will coat a spoon.

Pro tip: Save this for a cocktail mixer pairs great with gin and champagne cocktails. 

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