This recipe is from the book New Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies by Najmieh Batmanglij and similar to a dish we cooked at Kuhestan Farm deuring our Persian cooking class weekend. Pomegranate paste is available in specialty food stores click here for more information on Pomegranate paste. There are two kinds, a very sweet Persian brand, and a very sour Arab brand. Mix them together to create a sweet and sour mixture. The pomegranate paste can be replaced with yogurt, beaten for 5 minutes with 1/2t  ground saffron. The butternut squash can be replaced with beets or eggplants, or quince, or pitted prunes. The walnut can be replace with pecan, pistachio, almond or hazel nuts.

2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1kg chicken breasts, cut up with skin removed
5T  oil or butter
1t  salt
1/2 cup pomegranate paste dissolved in 2 1/2 cups water, or 4 cups fresh squeezed pomegranate juice
1 cup peeled and cubed butternut squash (optional)
2 cups very finely ground shelled walnuts
1/2t cinnamon
1/4t ground saffron dissolved in 1T  hot water
±2T  sugar

  1. In a casserole, heat 3T oil and brown onions.
  2. Add the chicken and fry until it changes colour. Add 1t salt.
  3. Heat 2T  oil in a non-stick pan and brown both sides of the butternut squash, set aside.
  4. In a food processor, finely grind the nuts, add the diluted pomegranate paste, cinnamon, saffron water and mix well to create a creamy paste.
  5. Add the butternut squash and nut paste to the casserole with the chicken and onion, stirring gently. If the pomegranate paste is too sour, add sugar. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent the nuts from burning.
  6. If the stew is too thick, add warm water to thin it. Taste the sauce and adjust for seasoning and thickness. The stew should be sweet and sour according to your taste.
  7. Serve with rice

Serves 4-6

See also:

Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking – for mouthwatering book on Persian cooking

Pomegranate Khoresh with Chicken – A delicious  Persian recipe

Wickedfood Cooking School

Sunninghill – (011) 234-3252sunninghill@wickedfood.co.za

Wickedfood Cooking School runs cooking classes throughout the year at its purpose-built cooking studios. We offer a variety of Johannesburg Cooking Classes. Cooking lessons are run in the mornings and evenings 7 days a week (subject to a minimum of 12 people). The venue is also popular for corporate events and private functions – team building cooking classes, birthdays, kitchen teas, and dinner parties with a difference.

Our classes are hands-on, where every person gets to participate in the preparation of the dishes. They are also a lot of fun where you not only learn new skills, but get to meet people with similar interests. For corporate groups and teambuilding cooking classes these classes are a novel way of creating staff interaction or entertaining clients.