When you think of Persian cuisine, what do you think of? Khoresh Fesenjan? Me neither. We love the restaurant Ravagh Persian Grill in NYC – they have some incredible dishes, along with the best hummus I’ve ever had. Khoresh Fesenjan was one of those dishes, so I found a recipe for it. I tested the dish on several people and wowed them all. The original version of the stew calls for duck and ground walnuts as well as a 2-1/2 hour cooking time to allow the walnuts to release their oil. Well I found a shortcut (peanut butter) which requires less cooking time. You wouldn’t notice from the taste but this dish is very nutritious and well balanced. It is also very filling so start with a small portion.


Pomegranate Stew:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, chicken thighs or turkey tenderloin, chopped into small cubes
1 white onion, chopped
3/4 cup peanut butter
3-4 cups pomegranate juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom (optional)

Edamame Bulgur:
1 cup bulgur (or rice)
2 cups water
2 Tbsp sake
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1 cup shelled edamame, fresh or frozen


1. To prepare the stew, heat the oil in a medium pot on high heat and cook the onions and chicken until the chicken is lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Mix in 3 cups of pomegranate juice and the rest of the ingredients. Turn down the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until meat is tender but not dry, stirring occasionally. Add pomegranate juice as needed to thin the stew or to create more broth.

2. To prepare the bulgur, place all ingredients except the edamame in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Throw in the edamame and continue to cook, covered, for another 5 minutes. Add water, as needed, to keep the bulgur from getting too dry.

3. To serve, fill 1/3 to 1/2 of a bowl with the bulgur as shown below and spoon the stew in the other half:

Filed in Main Course, Peanut Butter, Soup and Chili

18 Responses / Leave a comment »

  1. Kath says:

    Wow, what an interesting combo!!!

  2. Naomi Devlin says:

    Nick, Koresht-e-fesenjan is actually duck, walnut and pomegranate stew. It’s also delicious with pheasant as the gamey meat flavours work with nuts and pomegranate.

    I have a recipe for Koresht-e-bademjan, (aubergine koresht), which is a delicious late summer dish with lamb. find it here: http://milkforthemorningcake.blogspot.com/2007/09/aubergine-koresht.html

    One mention about persian food is that it always includes turmeric. It is their main spice and some stews are only flavoured with it. To up the authenticity in your recipe you should sprinkle a half teaspoon of ground turmeric over the meat and onions when they are cooked, stir for a couple of minutes to cook out bitterness and then carry on with the recipe.

    If you do it right and braise your meat for a long time on a low heat with the lid firmly clamped on, you will never get a dry stew or tough meat. Persian food is one of the most succulent and delicate cuisines I know (and I do know it!).

    If you can spare the time to let your koresht stew for 2-3 hours you’ll be amazed at how tender the meat is.

    x x x

  3. oatmeal says:

    I’ve never had persian food either–but I’m definitely tempted to give it a try now that I’ve read this post!
    And that recipe is just dreamy–peanut butter and grains! Definitely fun-tastic~although I can’t believe you don’t like rice! But I only find that weird ’cause I love rice XD

  4. Grace says:

    i love when savory dishes are spiced with cinnamon–it’s such a pleasant surprise. pleasant surprises are great. this stew is new and exciting to me and i think it’d be chock-full of pleasant surprises and greatness. :)

  5. VeggieGirl says:

    Nick, this recipe is, hands down, THE most intriguing/enticing recipe that I’ve seen so far this year – what an eclectic mix of flavors and ingredients!!

    I haven’t had TOO much experience with Persian cuisine, but now you have me wanting to eat MORE of this cuisine! :0)

  6. chou says:

    I love having someone else’s plate to eat off of–you know she only wants a bite of yours, right? ;)

  7. RecipeGirl says:

    I love, love LOVE unique recipes, and this one definitely fits that bill. Sounds like it was delicious!

  8. Sheltie Girl says:

    This does sound interesting…I could substitute the bulgar for any variety of whole gluten free grain and I’m sure it would be delicious.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Sheltie Girl @ Gluten a Go Go

  9. Nick says:

    oatmeal, rice is ok, it depends on the variety. I do love wild rice and when brown rice is available, I always choose it over white rice when I order sushi rolls.

    grace, I agree, cinnamon is such an unexpected but pleasant addition to savory dishes.

    chou, but why is it that girl’s take the LARGEST bites when it’s not their food? Normally she eats small bites like a mouse…I don’t get it.

    Veggiegirl, RecipeGirl, I hope you try it! It is very unique and its incredibly delicious as well. I was intrigued by this recipe right off the bat but put off making it for several months for unknown reasons. After polishing off about 7 bowls total of this stuff, I’m juuuust about ready to make it again =).

    Sheltie, I forgot bulgur is gluten-free! I always seem to think it is. The only reason I used it over the barley I had in the cupboard was that it cooks so much faster. It will certainly be just as good with another grain!

    Naomi, I should have known that you of all people would know exactly what I was trying to make =).

    I believe I have turmeric on hand, I’ll have to add some next time. The original recipe didn’t actually call for cinnamon but I always think cinnamon is such a nice touch to certain stews and chilis. Thanks for the tips.

    The only problem with braising the meat is that with very low fat meats like chicken breast or turkey tenderloin, it does tend to dry out. I saw many reviews for the original recipe where some people used chicken breast and said the meat came out way too dry.

    I’ll be sure to try it again soon, let me know of any other favorite Persian recipes!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I am actually Persian and NO WAY is turmeric our “main spice”!!! In fact, there aren’t very many dishes that incorporate turmeric that I can recall. This, of course, if you are talking about authentic Persian cuisine, not something a random restaurant or recipe made up. We use a fairly large variety of spices in our dishes. If I were to name just one, that would be saffron, especially as a garnish or topping for the rice, “polo”, that is always served with stews, “khoresht”. The aroma, taste, and color are unbeatable!

    As for “khoresht-e-fesenjan”, you could certainly use duck, but it is not essential for the recipe. I think it is more of an old-fashioned thing. My grandmother — a fantastic cook — always made hers with chicken, though.

    All this said, it was very interesting to see a variation of the dish featured in your blog! Made me homesick for my mom’s food. :-)

  11. Lisa says:

    Well, guess what I’m having for Sunday dinner! Sounds very different & delicious! After you cook the onions and brown the turkey do you think it would be ok to put in a crock-pot for a few hours?

    Lisa :)

  12. Susan from Food Blogga says:

    I’m crazy about peanut butter in savory dishes. I make a basic Thai peanut butter and coconut milk sauce that I use all the time with stir-fries, noodles, and rice. Your picture is scrumptious and is giving me a hankering for some pb and pom stew tonight!

  13. Jessy and her dog Winnie says:

    I have had Persian food once before, its super yummy stuff!

  14. bakingblonde says:

    That sounds like something I would LOVE! What a unique and nuturitious recipe! I love how you take ingredients that most wouldn’t think to combine and turn them into delicious dishes!

  15. daphne says:

    THis is really different. Still, I would love to have a taste of it. Especially with the edadmame and peanut butter sauce. nice.

  16. Garrett says:

    I must say this sounds intriguing. Would love to try it sometime. Might be a great potluck dish. (SUBTLETY!!!)


  17. kristen says:

    Rice is in my top 5 favorite restaurants ever. you cant not adore that place!

    i recently bought black rice & edamame to try and recreate a little slice of it since i live outside of their delivery area. (i have often considered moving to rememdy that fact…)

  18. Evan says:

    peanut butter & pomegranate = awesome combo. clean, classic pb + pomegranate arils is literally awesome. good recipe, keep up the awesome blog.

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