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Fesenjoon - Walnut & Pomegranate Persian Stew

Here she is, my childhood favourite in all her glory. Meet fesenjoon. It's a deeply flavourful and tangy Persian stew with ground walnuts and pomegranate. It’s typically an autumn dish, but I mean, with lockdown, do seasons even exist at this point?!

Serve this with saffron-infused basmati rice and you have yourself a bowl of delicious comfort.

I took this recipe from my grandma and I find that it's a lot simpler than others as it skips some steps that I have found to be unnecessary e.g searing the chicken or frying the onions in advance. I honestly don't see a difference in the end result and you still end up with a gorgeous dish so it's a win-win. Also to add a little bulk and extra flavour, we always add a type of squash depending on the season (pumpkin, butternut squash, courgette/ zucchini) this also adds more creaminess and some extra nutrients win-win-win.

2 1/2 c toasted walnuts

450g/ 1 lb chicken pieces

2 c chicken broth

1 large red onion

1 medium courgette /zucchini

6 tbsp pomegranate molasses

2 tbsp maple syrup, or to taste

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/8 tsp cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

On medium-low heat toast the walnuts, stirring every couple minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned (about 10 mins). While the walnuts get toasty, chop the onions and courgettes into pieces.

Set the walnuts aside to cool, then add to a food processor and blend until fine, add the broth, chopped onion and courgette and blend until smooth-ish.

Add the chicken to a large pan or dutch oven then pour the walnut mixture over the chicken and cover with a lid. Simmer for 30 minutes on low heat. Add the molasses, maple syrup, spices and simmer for another 30 minutes until deep and flavourful. If you find that it's too thick, add a little water to loosen it up.

Garnish with pomegranate seeds and parsley. Serve with rice or grain of choice and enjoy!

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