Friday, May 25, 2007

Khoresh Fesenjan (Iran {my favorite chicken dish!})

A khoresh is a thick stew-like sauce which is served over rice in Iran. This famous cersion owes its superb flavor to pomegranates and walnuts. Khoresh Fesenjan is often served on special occasions, when wild duck is used instead of chicken.

Yield: 4 servings

2 tbsp olive oil
4 chicken portions (I prefer using bone-in breasts, but legs are good too)
1 large onion, grated
1 cup water
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
5 tbsp pomegranate puree (You can find pomegranate syrup at any middle eastern grocery store. I also add the juice of a pomegranate for extra flavor)
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp sugar
3-4 saffron threads dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare persian rice and some salad leaves as a side.
Rinse basmati rice well and soak 30 min before cooking it.
  1. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large pan and saute the chicken potions until golden brown.
  2. Add half of the grated onion to the chicken and fry until slightly softened, then add the water and seasoning and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, het the remaining oil in a small pan or frying pan and fry the remainign onion for 2-3 minutes, until soft.
  4. Add the chopped walnuts to the onion and fry for a further 2-3 minutes over a low heat, stirring frequently and taking great care that the walnuts do not burn.
  5. Stir in th epomegranate and tomato purees, lemon juice, sugar and the saffron liquid. Season to taste and then simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes.
  6. Pour the walnut sauce over the chicken, ensuring all the pieces are well-covered. Cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes, until th emeat is cooked and the oil of the walnuts has risen to the surface.
  7. Serve immediately with the rice and salad leaves.
Recipe from "The African and Middle Eastern Cookbook" by Josephine Bacon and Jenni Fleetwood/Published by Hermes House