Fesenjān is one of those many great Iranian dishes that becoming so popular among my family. The deliciousness, nutty, fruity, sweet and slightly tangy flavor is tantalizing. One might think that this dish require times to prepare. It just the oposite, and though it sounds exotic, ingredient such as pomegranate molases, or pomegranate syrup are readily available in most grocery store. You can use any poultry for this dish, I suppose any meat will be delicious as well. Serve with any style Iranian rice, plain basmati rice, or just a simple flat bread.
The original recipe in her book does not include prunes and ground coriander. I think adding this two ingredients, making the dish more delicious (can't help it, I just need to include one or two spices in my cooking). The recipe also uses pomegranate paste instead of pomegranate molases, which I found a little bit challenging to find in my area. If you can find pomegranate paste, use the same amount, then dissolve with 1 1/2 cup of water. If you can not find both pomegranate paste and pomegranate molases, substitute with 2 1/2 cup freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. If you still can not find all of them, I suppose you can use pomegranate juice from the store, although I can not guarantee how it will taste, since I never tried it before.
Recipe adapted from Najmieh Batmanglij's book, "New Food of Life"
2 cup walnuts
2 pounds chicken legs, rinse under cold running water - pat dry.
2 large onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp ground saffron, dissolved in 1 tbs hot water
1 tsp ground coriander
3/4 cup pomegranate molases
10 dried prunes
3 tbs olive oil
3 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Finely grind the walnuts using a food processor, or coffee grinder. If desire, before grinding the whole thing, you can set aside a 1/2 cup of walnuts, then chop it coarsely to add texture and crunch to the sauce.
Heat one tablespoon of oil in a braiser, or heavy bottom pan set over medium heat. Add chicken legs, and brown on all side. Remove chicken legs from the pan, and discard the oil. Return the pan to the stove, pour in the remaining oil, add onion, cook until the onion is soft and translucent. Add saffron water and ground coriander, stir. Add ground walnuts, stir back and forth to prevent sticking. Continue to cook until the walnut begin to releases its oil, about a minute or so. Now add pomegranate molases, and a cup or more water (if the sauce seem to thick, add some more), salt and papper. Bring to a simmer. Return chicken pieces to the pan, add the prunes, then give it another stir or two. Lower the heat, simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until the chicken is cooked and the sauce is thicken. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.