This post is being rewritten. I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to share their thoughts in the comments. To learn more about fesenjan, please see this post by Shahab Shabani and this recipe from Persian Mama.
- 6 ounces walnut halves (about 1 2/3 cups)
- 1 tablespoon ghee or avocado oil
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in half
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 shallots or 1 small onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 1/4 cups chicken stock
- 1/3 cup pomegranate molasses
- 2 tablespoons honey**
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils, for serving
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and spread the walnuts out on a sheet pan. Toast for 6-8 minutes, or until the nuts smell toasty and are darker brown, shaking the pan once or twice. Transfer to a plate to cool. Chop in a food processor until finely ground.
- Push the "Sauté" button on a 6-quart Instant Pot***, making sure the heat level is set to "Normal". Season the chicken thigh pieces with the sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper. When the Instant Pot is hot, add the ghee. Once the fat is shimmering, add about half the chicken pieces (or as many fit in a single layer) and brown for 3-4 minutes per side. Do not worry if little pieces of chicken become stuck to the bottom of the pot--these browned bits will help add flavor to the stew. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and repeat with the remaining pieces.
- Add the shallot and sauté, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown. Add the turmeric, cinnamon, and cardamom and stir for about a minute, until very fragrant. Pour in the chicken stock, pomegranate molasses, honey, and ground walnuts and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pot to dislodge and mix in any browned bits that were stuck.
- Press "Keep Warm/Cancel" and add the browned chicken and any accumulated juices back to the pot.
- Put the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the valve is set to "Sealing". Push the "Poultry" button or use "Manual" to set the Instant Pot to cook at high pressure for 15 minutes.
- When the time is up, press "Keep Warm/Cancel" to turn off the IP. Let the pressure release naturally, or wait at least 10 minutes and then do a manual pressure release by carefully turning the valve to "Venting".
- If you prefer a thicker sauce, push "Sauté". Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken pieces to a bowl. Allow the sauce to bubble away for about 5 minutes, until thickened, then press "Keep Warm/Cancel" and stir the chicken back in.
- Serve hot with rice or cauliflower rice, topped with pomegranate arils and fresh cilantro.
*If you're having trouble finding pomegranate molasses, you can try making your own by boiling pomegranate juice.
**For Whole30, you could try omitting the honey or using applesauce or apple juice instead.
***I have not tested this recipe in an 8-quart Instant Pot, but reader feedback indicates the larger model likely requires more liquid. Consider increasing the chicken stock to 2 cups.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 servings Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 570Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 186mgSodium: 686mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 3gSugar: 23gProtein: 43g
The nutrition label provided is an estimate for informational purposes only and may not be accurate. I am not a nutritionist or medical professional.
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase on Amazon after clicking one of my links, I receive a small commission (the price you pay is not affected). Thank you so much for supporting my site!