Also known as fesenjan, this Iranian dish of chicken braised in walnut sauce is at once piquant and comforting. The secret? Pomegranate molasses. The quantity here is a guide – add more to the pot and the dish will come out sweet and tart, or use it like you would lemon juice, seasoning at the end to cut the richness.
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 chicken Marylands, jointed
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp ghee
- Large pinch of ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp paprika
- 3 tsp pomegranate molasses, or to taste, plus extra to serve
- 300 ml chicken stock
- 55 gm (⅓ cup) almonds
- 50 gm (½ cup) walnuts
- Red onion, sliced into rings, and coriander, to serve
- Jewelled rice (see recipe opposite; optional), to serve
- 1Preheat oven to 200°C. Heat oil in a flameproof casserole over medium-high heat. Season chicken, add to pan skin-side down, and cook, turning occasionally, until golden, (6-8 minutes). Remove from casserole. Reduce heat to medium, add onion and ghee to casserole and stir occasionally until onion is soft and starting to brown (10-12 minutes). Stir in cinnamon, paprika and pomegranate molasses, then add stock and bring to the boil. Return chicken to casserole, transfer to oven and braise until tender and cooked through (40-45 minutes). Season sauce to taste.
- 2Meanwhile, pound nuts with a mortar and pestle until coarsely ground, then stir into sauce. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until combined (4-6 minutes). Season with pomegranate molasses and serve topped with onion and coriander with rice on the side.
Drink suggestion: Exotically perfumed viognier. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.