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“Laced with tangy-sweet pomegranate molasses and fragrant spices, this healthy and delicious Persian stew is traditionally prepared for festive occasions. Here we make it with chicken for a quick and easy dinner but it can also be made with lamb stew meat for special occasions. Serve with brown rice to sop up any extra sauce.”
1½ cups walnut halves, toasted
6 large skinless, bone-in chicken thighs (2½-3 pounds)
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
¼ cup water
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon saffron
⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
⅓ cup pomegranate molasses (see Tips)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pomegranate seeds & chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
1Pulse walnuts in a food processor until coarsely ground.
2Sprinkle chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove to a plate.
3Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and water to the pot; cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until the onion is lightly brown and soft, about 5 minutes. Add cinnamon, saffron and cardamom and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the walnuts, broth, pomegranate molasses and honey. Bring to a boil.
4Return the chicken to the pot and turn to coat with sauce. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Partially cover and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh without touching bone registers 165°F, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the chicken to a clean plate; keep warm.
5Add lemon juice and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt to the sauce. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring often, until reduced by about one-third, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve the chicken with the sauce, garnished with pomegranate seeds and parsley, if desired.
Tips: Pomegranate molasses is a syrup made from pomegranate juice. Look for it with other Middle Eastern ingredients at well-stocked supermarkets and online.