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Iranian/Persian Fesenjoon (walnut and pomegranate dish) with Rice

Iranian/Persian Fesenjoon (walnut and pomegranate dish) with Rice
iranian persian fesenjoon walnut and pomegranate dish with rice jpg

Iranian/Persian Fesenjoon (walnut and pomegranate dish) with Rice
recipe image

Iranian/Persian Fesenjoon (walnut and pomegranate dish) with Rice
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves
Author Notes

Khoresh-e fesenjoon is one of the most well known and loved Iranian dishes and is served over a bed of steamed rice. It is made during the fall and winter months because of the richness of the flavors and its seasonal main ingredients; walnuts, pomegranate molasses and pumpkins. It is a very nutritious food that gets its anti-oxidants from the pomegranates, its beneficial oils from the walnuts, and its beta-carotene from the pumpkin.

My recipe is made with chicken. Two other popular variations use duck legs or meatballs made from ground beef infused with saffron and grated onions. —cookingProf

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

  • 2 cups


  • 1

    Packed cup of grated (raw) or pureed (cooked) butternut squash or pumpkin

  • 2.5 cups


  • 10-12

    Dried golden plums (optional)

  • 6 pieces

    Boneless, skinless chicken thighs (all visible fat trimmed)

  • 1

    Medium onion, minced

  • 1 tablespoon

    Olive oil

  • 1/2 cup

    Pomegranate molasses

  • 2-3 tablespoons

    Brown sugar

  • Salt and pepper to taste.

  1. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and roast in a 350-degree oven for 5-10 minutes or until they start to change color. Let cool. This can be done ahead of time.
  2. Finely chop the walnuts to a coarse meal in a food processor.
  3. Put the walnuts, grated squash or pumpkin, dried plums (optional), and water in a medium pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Stir once or twice.
  4. Put the minced onions and olive oil in a small pot. Roll the chicken thighs and place them seam-side down on the bed of minced onions. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10-12 minutes or until the onions start to caramelize.
  5. Add the pomegranate molasses to the walnut sauce. Add brown sugar, one tablespoon at a time, to the desired sweetness. Remove the chicken thighs to a side plate and scrape off the caramelized onions into the walnut sauce. Stir and adjust for the desired saltiness and sweetness. Place the pieces of chicken in the sauce. Cover the pot and simmer over medium low heat for another sixty minutes. If needed, add a tablespoon or two of water. Note: The sauce should not be too thin. If it is thinner than desired, leave the cover off during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking.
  6. Serve over parboiled and steamed Basmati rice. Left over khoresht (stew) freezes well.

I was gifted with the love for cooking as a very young girl growing up in Tehran. I would follow my grandmother to the fresh produce market every day in summer days and help carry her basket home. I would then stand around at her foot in the kitchen and she would reward me with delicious morsels of the food she was cooking.
My two prominent occupations/preoccupations are cooking and teaching computer science/writing computer programs. I find both equally rewarding.

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