Persian Chicken Stew (Fesenjan)

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I am in one of those phases where I just want to cook the same thing over and over again. It’s not due to a lack of imagination, but rather an addiction to some seriously delicious meals that have come out of my little kitchen recently.

One of them, in particular, is this incredible Persian Chicken Stew, also known as Fesenjan.

Persian Chicken Stew (Fesenjan) Recipe

In this stew chicken is slow cooked in a mixture of ground walnuts, my beloved pomegranate molasses, and an assortment of spices. While this meal does take a little bit more time than I typically like to spend on a weeknight meal, it’s worth it. This warm meal is incredibly comforting on a cold evening, but unlike plenty of “comfort foods,” this Persian Chicken Stew is very healthy.

Persian Chicken Stew (Fesenjan) Recipe

Feel free to increase this recipe if you’re serving more people or want leftovers – the stew reheats very well the next day! I serve this Fesenjen with rice and a side of vegetables, like my Spiced Roasted Carrots (a perfect pairing, in my opinion!). Next time, I am going to try to adapt this recipe for the slow cooker, first browning the chicken and sautéing the onions in pan, and then putting the rest of the ingredients in the slow-cooker to simmer all day.

Persian Chicken Stew (Fesenjan) Recipe

I hope your family loves this meal as much as we do!


Persian Chicken Stew (Fesenjan) Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1.5 inch pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped (1.5 cups)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 Tablespoons pomegranate molasses (Make your own here)
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup pomegranate arils, optional for serving
  1. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the walnut halves and toast, stirring reguarly for about 8 minutes. Be very careful not to let the walnuts burn. Once lightly browned, remove the walnuts from the pan and place on a plate to cool. Once cool, place in a food processor or blender and grind the walnuts until finely ground (like sand).
  2. Return the pan to medium heat and add 1 Tablespoon of the extra-virgin olive oil. Once hot, add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides. Sprinkle the chicken with salt while it is cooking. Once browned (but NOT cooked through), remove the chicken to a plate.
  3. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan, and then add the onions. Cook until translucent, 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally to remove the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan and add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer on very low heat for 15 minutes, covered.
  4. Stir in the ground walnuts, pomegranate molasses, sugar, and spices. Cover again and cook on very low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and adjust sugar/salt to taste.
  5. Serve with rice and sprinkle with fresh pomegranate arils.

This Persian Chicken Stew is delicious on a chilly fall or winter evening. The combination of ground walnuts and pomegranate molasses make a delicious sweet and savory sauce! It's healthy and gluten-free! ll


  • Nagi@RecipeTinEats
    March 10, 2015 - 6:21 pm | Permalink

    I had to come by after seeing your comment on my blog because I love your blog name! you ARE tiny! He he!

    This recipe caught my eye because I love Persian / gulf / mediterranean style food. I was curious what was making it creamy – the ground walnuts! This is such an interesting recipe! Pinning!

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      March 11, 2015 - 7:46 am | Permalink

      Thanks for stopping by, Nagi! I also love Mediterranean food and I hope you enjoy this recipe! 🙂

  • April 10, 2015 - 11:17 am | Permalink

    Uhm, I’m making this asap! Looks delicious!

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      April 10, 2015 - 11:52 am | Permalink

      I think you’ll love it!!

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