Yum Peaceful Cooking: Pomegranate Khoresh with Chicken

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pomegranate Khoresh with Chicken

Or, Khoresh-e fesenjan ba jujeh

But....before we dive into this flavorful, taste-bud-tantalizing dish. Let me tell you the why and how of it all!

One day I went into the kitchen and I found out that I was being invaded by these cute little bottles.

They came marching across my counter, chanting....

"Take me to your leader"

I quickly raised my hand and said, with pride...."THATS ME!!!"

When you have a whole case of  Pom Wonderful Pomegranate Juice willing to do anything your heart desires....well shoot....that just opens up a whoooole bunch of possibilities, now doesn't it?

Ok, it didn't really happen like that...but it was almost as cool. Molly from Pom Wonderful was kind enough to ask if I would like a case of these little cuties.

Well, who wouldn't?

I've tried the juice before. I'm lucky enough to have a supply available to me at my local grocery store (though its a tad bit costly). But I've only tried it as a beverage. And loved it!! (btw...my favorite is the pom-blueberry version...OMG).

But now that the manufacture sent me a case....well shoot. I can't just drink them all and say YUM!

How rude of me!

So I put my feelers out to see what I could find.


One of the gals at work told me about a recipe she had at home that was wonderful. Bless her heart...she brought her cookbook to work the very next day!! (heaven!!)

After looking at the ingredients...I wasn't sure if I could do it. There were a few key ingredients that just don't play well with my taste buds. So I browsed through her big fat heavy incredible cookbook and found Pomegranate Khoresh with Chicken.

Khoresh is persian for stew. Usually its duck or veal but me being who I am (and they said I could in the cookbook), I used chicken.


That's all I'll say for now. Let me show you what I did and then you can say "WOW" too!

Oh ya...when I made this, I halved the recipe....(just in case no one liked it) but I'll give you the full version recipe.

2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 lbs chicken legs or duck breast, cut up with skin removed (I used boneless skinless chicken breast. next time I'll probably use boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
5 tablespoons oil or butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pomegranate paste dissolved in 2 1/2 cups water, OR 4 cups fresh squeezed pomegranate juice
1 cup peeled and cubed butternut squash
1/2 pound or 2 cups very finely ground walnuts (I used pecans)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
2 tablespoons sugar (optional) (I didn't need it)
Seeds of a whole fresh pomegranate (a.k.a. arils)

In a Dutch oven, (or bean pot like I used), brown onions and chicken in the oil. Add 1 teaspoon salt.

Look at this beautiful squash....

I didn't need much, so I'm going to have to find something to do with the remaining squash. Maybe just caramelize them and served them as a side. Or make a lovely soup.


Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a non-stick skillet (I don't own one..used my cast iron) and brown both sides of the butternut squash, set aside.

In a food processor, finely grind the nuts....

You see how small my food processor is? There was no way I'd be able to continue according to the directions. Therefore I removed the nuts and continued in a bowl, by hand...

Add the diluted pomegranate paste (juice in my case), cinnamon, saffron water and mix well.

This is suppose to create some sort of paste. It was pretty watery. Not sure if it has anything to do with fact that I didn't use a food processor or not. But....just so's ya know...it didn't matter.

Oh look...the chicken and the onions are nice and brown now...

Add the butternut squash to the chicken...

(shhhh....don't tell anyone...but I nibbled on a few of those caramelized squash squares...and YUM!!)

Add the so-called-nut-paste to the mixture...

wooooa....that turned into an odd color. (got kinda nervous at this point)

If the sauce is too sour, add 2 tablespoons of sugar (wasn't needed....tasted awesome!!).

Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hrs, stirring occasionally.

Now the book goes on to explain that if the stew is too thick, add warm water. If it's not sour enough for your taste, add more pomegranate paste, or sugar to sweeten it.

Anyways, after some time, I noticed the stew was changing colors....in the end it became a deep rich brown, almost black. But it wasn't burnt at all.

Just prior to serving, sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of fresh pomegranate seeds on top of the Khoresh.

I don't even know how to explain it. Rich in flavor....full of depth. Unbelievable. The sweet and sour that is create from the pomegranate and the cinnamon and butternut squash.....loved it!!

Here in the "States" we use cinnamon as a desserts ingredient. It takes a little "adjusting" to appreciate the other side of cinnamon in a savory dish. If you can get cinnamon rolls out of your head, I think you'll enjoy it :)

So...let me give you a few hints on de-seeding a pomegranate. I saw a great little video over at Pom Wonderful that showed this process but I had such fun pulling it off, I thought I'd include it here:

Slice the end of the pomegranate off

See those segments? the thick membranes? Cut right through that....

Now you will have segments kinda like an orange. Set up a bowl of water and with the arils facing down, bend the skin backwards, releasing the arils into the water.

The arils will sink and any membranes that end up in the bowl will float. Take a strainer or slotted spoon and scoop the membranes out. ...

Now all you have to do is drain out the water and you have a whoooole bunch of pomegranate seeds to play with :)

AFTER NOTE: Ok...so I started getting worried that I may have done something terribly wrong to my Khoresh. Why is it so dark? So I went poking around. I found one image that looked the way my stew looked before cooking it....that reddish brown. Well, mine didn't stay that color for very long...so I think that image was not from the finished product (tsk tsk). So I searched some more. I came across a blog by an Iranian woman where she was talking about a dinner party at a restaurant where they served this very recipe. And it was so dark....that it was almost black!! YEAH!!!

Oh ya....and they served it over rice. YUM!


  1. Very nice!..man that's a lot of juice..got my wheels spinning how about a reduction with bacon wrapped pork tenderloin?

  2. I would be afraid of the color too! I'm glad it turned out well for you! Oh and I like cinnamon in Moroccan and Turkish dishes. It's really a nice flavor but you're right, it's weird at first and takes some getting used to but it really is delicious.

  3. That sounds interesting,but delicious!I would love to make that.

  4. I got the same offer this week from POM. I am very excited, and have been floating around the web looking for recipes. I love this. I have BBQ sauce planend for some of mine, but they are so generous, I am excited to see what can be done.

    Excellent post BTW, very clear instructions and great photos. Thanks for being an excellent blogger. makes it so easy for us less talented cooks.

  5. Matt - that would be really good. I still have 6 bottles left. I'm going to use some of them for jelly :)

    Michele - I wish I knew why it came out so dark. When I look it up, its a deep brown...but definitely brown. Owell...it certainly tastes good and thats all that matters :)

    Erica - It is a very interesting dish. I was nervous because its unlike anything I've ever made, thats why I only made half the recipe, incase we didn't like it.

  6. Grill - you certainly can't mean that YOU are less talented!! With the stuff you make, come on! seriously good stuff happening over there :)

    I can't wait to see what you do with your Pom juice

  7. That sounds very interesting, I really want to try it. Heh, the color would have worried me too.

  8. What a creative recipe..I look forward to trying it.

  9. I made this very thing yesterday, with lamb instead of chicken - think I prefer the chicken version though. Yours looks delish!

  10. Sounds good, but the color?? My eyes tell my brain it's chocolate!!
    Great pictures too!

  11. Oh man...that sounds super delicious!! I was messing around with Pomegranates the other day and photographed the process, too...now I'll have to wait a bit to post it ;) Nice one!

  12. OH YUMO...chicken and pomegranate! Love...love...love pomegranate!

    Oddly enough I rec'd a case of those cute little bottles too. I looked for the Pom Juice last year but couldn't find it! Now, it's coming out my ears!

  13. i've never heard of khoresh, but it looks and sound delicious! i just got some pom juice, too! super excited to use it!!

  14. The color is so dark and rich! I bet it was delicious! I love POM - my favorite was the POM Nectarine.

  15. Bob - I hope you get a chance to try it. It's worth the experience and the flavor is good. I had some yesterday with a pita as a scooper...YUM

    Figtree - How nice of you to stop by...Welcome :) let me know how you like, i'd love to get a "2nd" opnion

    Erika - Did yours turn out black too? did you like it? enquiring minds want to know :)

    Tango - LMAO!! I know huh? especially with those pretty arils on there, kinda looks like a dessert. sssssssssyke!!

    Heather - LMAO!! did I beat you to it? you have such a much more huger following (do I sound 4 yrs old? hahaha...its the marg), I'm sure you can post it too and only a small handful will have seen it twice LOL

    Michelle - Sooo...whatcha gonna make? huh? huh? :)

    Heather - oooh, I can't wait to see what you do with your pom!! All this wide spread pom awareness is so cool.

    Reeni - hmm I don't think I've seen the pom nectarine. Have you seen their tea line? they have an awesome green tea peach tea drink.... absolutely delish!!

  16. What an interesting dish. Finally found a bottle of the elusive pomegranate molasses and I imagine this lengthy reduction would tasste womething like that. Yum! ...Susan

  17. Interesting!!! I'd love to try that!

  18. Mmmmm, looks yummy! I've been looking for unique recipes that incorporate POM juice & pomegranates & now I've found one. :)

    Thanks for sharing this recipe & for providing such thorough, detailed directions.



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