Also called Khoresht-e-Fesenjan, this is a special occasion Persian food. Traditionally, it is made with duck or pheasant in the province of Gilan in north of the country along the Caspian Sea, the swamps being a nesting place for these wild birds. It is a thick, rich, sweet and sour dish. Fesenjan improves in flavour if served the next day, as all the flavourings soak up into the meat!
I have prepared this dish, with virtually any meat and occasionally without any at all! Here is how I prepare it with chicken:
- 1 whole chicken, cut up into 12 pieces (alternatively, 2-2 ½ lb Boneless meat)
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted and finely ground in a food processor
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups pomegranate juice
- OR 3 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses
- 2 or 3 cardamoms
- Half a cup of almonds or cashew nuts (optional)
- Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
- Add the chicken and onions and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally (at this stage you can put a diced aubergine, if desired!).
- Mix in pureed walnuts, salt, pomegranate juice/molasses, and cardamom. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1½ hours, stirring occasionally.
- If the sauce becomes too thick, stir in 1/4 cup warm water.
- Adjust the seasoning, and simmer for another 10-30 minutes.