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Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Fesenjan is a fabulous Iranian stew of chicken or duck cooked with walnuts and pomegranate molasses. It is thick and rich with a nutty sweet and sour taste. Serve over rice. If you can't find pomegranate molasses, make your own by reducing 3 cups pomegranate juice, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup lemon juice until thickened.

Servings: 4

Ready time: 1 hour

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups walnut halves or pieces

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons turmeric

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

750 grams (11/2 lbs) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in half

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 large onion, chopped

2 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 cup coriander leaves

2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

Method

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Toast walnuts in a skillet over medium heat until browned, about 3 minutes. Finely grind in a food processor.

Combine salt, pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, coriander and cardamom in a small bowl. Season chicken with 1 tbsp of spice mixture. Reserve remainder.

Heat oil and butter in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken and sear on each side for 2 minutes or until brown. Transfer chicken to an ovenproof casserole dish.

Add onion to hot skillet and sauté 5 minutes or until edges are just beginning to brown. Add remaining spice mixture, stir together and sauté for 30 seconds. Add chicken stock and pomegranate molasses and bring to a boil. Stir in ground walnuts and sugar. Season well with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken.

Bake uncovered for 15 to 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Garnish with coriander leaves and pomegranate seeds.

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