700. Iraqi Chicken Fesenjun

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One of the greatest misconceptions in food culture is that the inclusion of fruit in savory dishes is Persian. In fact, ancient recipes literally engraved in stone from Sammara, Iraq is all the proof needed that it is Iraqi. However, it is a natural misconception, seeing how Iraq and Iran are geographical neighbors one cannot but expect cultures to merge somewhat. Fesenjun ( الفسنجون) is the name for a meat (usually duck, but can also be any poultry, meat, or even fish) simmered in a pomegranate and walnut concoction that is so good, despite not being too pretty, I would not be surprised to see poems written in its honor.
Adapted from Tess Mallos Complete Middle Eastern and Tummylicious Treats.

Ingredients:

1.5 kg whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp ghee
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
3/4 cup pomegranate molasses
3/4 cup water
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 pieces cinnamon bark
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Method:

Season chicken with salt and pepper.
Sear the chicken on all side in the hot ghee in a pot until golden.
Remove chicken and set aside.
In the same pot, saute the chopped onion until transparent.
Add the walnut, water, pomegranate molasses, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
Return the chicken to the pot, spoon sauce over the chicken, cover the pot, and simmer on low heat for about 90 minutes.
Taste for seasoning, adjusting accordingly (if too sweet add a bit of lemon juice).
To serve, put chicken pieces over a bed of rice, spoon over the sauce, and garnish with fresh pomegranate and walnut pieces.

 
صحة و عافية
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16 thoughts on “700. Iraqi Chicken Fesenjun”

  1. This looks interesting Maryam. I tried the version of Lamees Ibrahim Iraqi cookbook and it was an absolute disaster. This looks much better and inspiring to give it a second shot. Thank you for sharing. S.

  2. This looks interesting Maryam. I tried the version of Lamees Ibrahim Iraqi cookbook and it was an absolute disaster. This looks much better and inspiring to give it a second shot. Thank you for sharing. S.

  3. Oh that book was a huge disappointment! The ingredient list and the method and the picture of the final dish were all contradictive! She says boiled, and the picture shows that its clearly fried; she writes a specific list of ingredients and the instructions mention things not even listed! I have the book and basically all I dare use it for is picture inspiration and for the names of the dishes-that's it! On the other end of the spectrum, I cannot recommend enough Nawal Nasrallah's Iraqi cookbook: Delights from the Garden of Eden. It is a treasure and not just a book. I wish I can thank her for her efforts that took a lifetime to compile.

  4. Oh that book was a huge disappointment! The ingredient list and the method and the picture of the final dish were all contradictive! She says boiled, and the picture shows that its clearly fried; she writes a specific list of ingredients and the instructions mention things not even listed! I have the book and basically all I dare use it for is picture inspiration and for the names of the dishes-that's it! On the other end of the spectrum, I cannot recommend enough Nawal Nasrallah's Iraqi cookbook: Delights from the Garden of Eden. It is a treasure and not just a book. I wish I can thank her for her efforts that took a lifetime to compile.

  5. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I made it today but it was extremely tangy this recipe calls for too much pomegranate molasses. I added a half cuf brown sugar and it was still very tangy. Being said that I will still use this recipe but I will just add much less pomegranate molasses. Thank you again Mariam!

  6. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I made it today but it was extremely tangy this recipe calls for too much pomegranate molasses. I added a half cuf brown sugar and it was still very tangy. Being said that I will still use this recipe but I will just add much less pomegranate molasses. Thank you again Mariam!

  7. Now that you mention it, it is worth reading the ingredient list of your pomegranate molasses as different makers may use more sugar to make it sweeter or more lemon juice or citric acid to make it more sour. The original recipe actually called for 1/3 cup molasses diluted in 1 cup water, but that didn't give much flavor to me so I increased the molasses ratio. I hope this works out better for you!

  8. Now that you mention it, it is worth reading the ingredient list of your pomegranate molasses as different makers may use more sugar to make it sweeter or more lemon juice or citric acid to make it more sour. The original recipe actually called for 1/3 cup molasses diluted in 1 cup water, but that didn't give much flavor to me so I increased the molasses ratio. I hope this works out better for you!

  9. I will try that next time. By the way how do you grind the walnuts. I used a brand new coffegrinder but it was a pain to process the walnuts. Sarah.

  10. I will try that next time. By the way how do you grind the walnuts. I used a brand new coffegrinder but it was a pain to process the walnuts. Sarah.

  11. I finely chop them using a knife. If I want to take a short cut I pulse them in the food processor. Using a coffee grinder or over-processing them would extract their natural oils and make a mess.

  12. I finely chop them using a knife. If I want to take a short cut I pulse them in the food processor. Using a coffee grinder or over-processing them would extract their natural oils and make a mess.

  13. Maryam I just wanted to update you; my mom visited me (she lives far away in another country) I requested from her to cook fasanjoon for me as I messed up the other time. She made it just the way she always did and guess what same problem the molasses that I had was extremely acidic and her fasanjoon was also "ruined". So we came to the conclusion that the company that produces that brand of molasses cuts down on costs by using less pomegranate and more citric acid. I will continue using your recipe but change the molasses. -zizi

  14. Maryam I just wanted to update you; my mom visited me (she lives far away in another country) I requested from her to cook fasanjoon for me as I messed up the other time. She made it just the way she always did and guess what same problem the molasses that I had was extremely acidic and her fasanjoon was also "ruined". So we came to the conclusion that the company that produces that brand of molasses cuts down on costs by using less pomegranate and more citric acid. I will continue using your recipe but change the molasses. -zizi

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