Fesenjan (Persian Chicken With Walnuts and Pomegranate Preserves)

Einat Admony

1 ½ hours

Serves 4

Persian Chicken With Walnuts and Pomegranate Preserves

Persian Chicken With Walnuts and Pomegranate Preserves | Photographer: Penny De Los Santos

When she was little, chef Einat Admony would spend hours helping her mother prepare for dinners of up to 30 guests. She would inspect the grains of rice, and make sure no stones from the harvest were left in the nigella seeds. There were also hours spent peeling and cleaning countless pomegranates. At the time, Einat hated the work, but today she’s grateful for it, calling it an education. “It became the engine of everything,” she explains. 

Her mother Ziona, who was born in Kerman, Iran, used those seeds to make dishes like this fesenjan, which the family calls shachor, or black chicken. The extra confiture can be kept in the refrigerator and be enjoyed on its own or on top of yogurt. 

Read more about Einat’s family on the Jewish Food Society’s archive and try her recipes for jeweled rice tahdig, fresh herb salad, and baked apples with meringue. Find more of our favorite Rosh Hashanah recipes here.


Pomegranate Confiture
½ cup of pomegranate molasses

½ cup of pomegranate juice
¼ cup of honey


Chicken Stew

2 cups shelled walnut halves and pieces

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt 

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground turmeric 

2 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks (about 8 pieces)

3 tablespoons canola oil

Pinch of saffron threads (optional)

  1. Make the pomegranate confiture: Combine all three ingredients in a bowl, stir and set aside. 
  2. Make the stew: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the walnuts evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until fragrant and toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Place a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. While the pot is heating, combine the salt, pepper, cumin, and turmeric in a small bowl. Pat the chicken pieces dry and season with the spice mixture, coating evenly.
  4. Add the oil to the pot and swirl to coat. Working in 2 or 3 batches, brown the chicken on all sides, being careful not to overcrowd the pot and steam the chicken instead of searing it, about 10 minutes per batch. Transfer the seared chicken to a bowl and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat and let the oil cool slightly before discarding it. Wipe out any remaining burnt spices and return the pot to the stove.
  6. Place the chicken in the pot along with the toasted walnuts and stir in the pomegranate confiture and saffron threads, if using. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid, and simmer for 45 minutes, until the chicken is tender and the walnuts are caramelized.
  7. Remove the lid and continue to simmer until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is evenly glazed, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.