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.
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
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.