Fesenjan (Pomegranate Chicken)

Serves: 3-4

1 large yellow onion, diced
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses*
1 1/2 cups walnut halves, toasted and chopped to a fine meal in a food processor or blender
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (substitute garbanzos and/or extra walnuts for a vegetarian version)
2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for a vegetarian version)
2 Tbsp honey or agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
pinch each cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper

For serving:
Serve over rice or, for a low-carb version, cauliflower. Garnish with fresh pomegranate arils and parsley if desired.

Cook onions in 1 Tbsp olive oil over high heat until soft, stirring occasionally. In a separate pan, cook the chicken in a little olive oil over medium heat (do this in two batches unless using a very large pan). Once browned, add to the onions. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add pomegranate molasses, honey, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and walnuts. Simmer for 15-25 minutes, until desired thickness is reached. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

*I’m told pomegranate molasses can sometimes be found at the Olympia Food Co-op; a middle eastern market is the best bet, though. If you have a source of real pomegrante juice that isn’t mostly sugar water, you can always try making your own.
(another recipe at food.com)
(another recipe at Food Network)

Adapted from: The Minimalist Baker

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.


native to: the Middle East or northern India
in season: winter

Pomegranates are technically berries even though the skin and pith are inedible. The seeds and their little pulp sacks, called arils, are the edible part and the source of pomegranate juice. They contain two unique nutrients, both named for the pomegranate, Punica granatum. Punicalagins are powerful antioxidants contained in pomegranate juice and peel and are good for the heart and blood vessels. Punicic acid, also known as pomegranate seed oil, is a fatty acid found in the arils. Pomegranate juice is used against chronic inflammation and may protect against prostate and breast cancer, high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease, cholesterol problems, atherosclerosis, bacterial and fungal infections, gum disease, poor memory, and even erectile dysfunction. Pomegranates are rich in nitrates that help athletic performance by enhancing blood flow. They also contain phytochemicals that can improve depression and help build bone mass. They contain lots of vitamin C and also pantothenic acid (B5), which can reduce muscle cramps and the insulin resistance of diabetes.

“Pomegranate” means “seeded apple” and they have been used to symbolize health, abundance, and fertility. The internet suggests seeding them underwater to reduce the splatter of the juice, but there’s something very traditional and comfortable about picking the arils one by one from a slice as you eat them and watch a Christmas movie or play Yatsee. The seeds within are edible but not everyone likes them. It should also be noted that the tannins and acids in pomegranates can upset dogs’ stomachs, so this is a good snack to keep to yourself.

Read more:
label-style nutrition information for raw pomegranates
Dr. Fuhrman

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.