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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Chicken Fesejan

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
I had this marvelous dish in a Persian Café in Chicago years ago and it has always stuck with me. The flavors are dark and complex, so serve over simple basmati rice. The fragrance is wonderful, and the taste complex.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 small onions, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 1/2 cups walnuts, finely ground
2/3 cup pomegranate syrup
2 1/2 cups stock or water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons saffron (optional)
2 limes, juice of
2 1/2 to 3 pounds of bone-in poultry, of choice

Heat butter or oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven. Add onions and sauté until wilted and translucent. Add garlic, cinnamon and nutmeg and sauté, stirring, for another 1-2 minutes. Stir in walnuts, pomegranate syrup, stock, sugar, salt, pepper and saffron. Adjust sugar and salt to taste. Bring to a low boil and simmer 1/2 hour. Add chicken and simmer on low heat another 60 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time, add the lime juice to taste. The sauce will thicken and darken during this cooking time, and the oil will begin to render out of the walnuts. Add water or stock if necessary to prevent the sauce from thickening too much and scorching. Serve over Basmati rice.