Khoresht Fesenjan:

Attractive in its muddy brown embodiment of wonder

 I talk a lot about clean and healthy eating through the lens of what has already been thoughtfully created.  Without denying myself the trendy clean eats that crop up, yes turmeric latte I see you, I always ground myself with the food and knowledge that comes from the way people have classically sourced and thoughtfully prepared meals.  Just like the approach of Clean Eats | Dirty Desserts does not deny me life’s pleasures included beautifully made treats, the real grounding and focus comes from unadulterated clean foods that nourish. Never put baby in a corner.

I have been learning about Persian food and am fascinated by the use of ingredients, the subtle flavors and the incredibly mindful approach to preparation.  A beautiful Khoresht does not just include slowly caramelized onions, rather they are layered in at just the right moment the bring about a harmony of flavors in the finished product.

The use of fresh herbs, nuts, antioxidant rich fruits, anti-inflammatory spices and a thoughtful approach to preparation (I do not consider this slow cooker food) results in food for your mind, your soul and definitely to share.  There is a slight flexibility in the measurements, when paired with the thoughtful approach, is not as strict as my pastry preparation requires but nonetheless fully immerses me in the experience.

Fesenjan is magic in your mouth. A dish I really believe I can say is the best thing I have ever tasted. Granted my version will differ slightly in flavor and color from one household’s recipe to the next, especially since I am a newcomer, this stew truly is everything to your palate and more.  Ancient superfood preparation on a Broadway stage: this is true brain food.  Omega-3 rich walnuts laced with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory cinnamon and turmeric.  Concentrated pomegranate juice lends a sweet and sour antioxidant rich one, two punch.  Grated butternut squash packs in vitamin A with slowly cooked pasture-raised chicken for a responsible protein choice, bone-in for all of the added benefits of  collagen, calcium and other minerals.  

There is a quite a bit of complexity in the simplicity of this dish and I hope to break it down for you so that you make this amazing meal.

 Makes a large pot of stew for 4 (or more)

1 each 3 ½ # Bell and Evan’s Chicken, quartered with wings.

32 ounces Pomegranate Juice (reduced to 16 ounces) OR 10 ounces pomegranate molasses

1 cup Butternut Squash, grated

2.5 cups Walnuts, toasted and ground into powder

2 large strips Tangerine Zest

1 Tbsp Turmeric Powder

3 Garlic Cloves

1 medium Onion, diced fine

1 tsp Black Pepper

1-2 tsp Sea Salt

Olive Oil

1.     Place quartered chicken in a zip lock bag and add 4 ounces of reduced pomegranate juice to chicken. Shake bag and throw in fridge overnight.

2.     In a Le Creseut, add 1 Tbsp of Olive oil. Remove chicken from bag, rinse and pat dry.

3.     Brown chicken skin side down.

4.     Remove chicken pieces and place on a plate to the side.

5.     Add toasted walnuts to pot with olive oil and chicken fat. Add 3 cloves of smashed garlic and stir on medium heat to coat nuts. Add three cups of water and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes.

6.     Meanwhile, sautee diced onion in olive oil until translucent and slightly caramelized, but not burned.

7.     After twenty minutes of walnuts simmering, add onions to pot with 10 ounces of reduced pomegranate juice (or 10 ounces of pomegranate molasses), grated squash, tangerine peel, black pepper, salt, turmeric and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer.

8.     Place chicken pieces carefully back in pot and place lid on.

9.     Simmer on medium low for 2 hours gently agitating.

10.  Carefully remove the chicken pieces as they will be tender wanting to fall off the bone.

11.  Remove the tangerine strips.

12.  Using a high speed Vitamix blender, puree the sauce until smooth and creamy.

13.  Adjust seasoning (salt, pepper, pomegranate concentrate and water) and place back in pot.

14.  Remove chicken skins and discard. Place chicken pieces back in pot. Return to a simmer, being careful to not burn the sauce at this point as it will be thick!)

15.  Allow to cool if not serving immediately.

16.  To reheat- place on very low heat, tasting the Khoresht for seasoning before serving.

I love to serve this with Persian Rice, Tahdig (more on those later),  Yogurt, Cubed Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Arils