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I had this marvelous dish in a Mediterranean Cafe. The fragrance is wonderful and the taste sublime. Fesenjan is special occasion food in Iran. It is traditionally made with duck or pheasant in the north of the country along the Caspian sea. It is a thick, rich, sweet-sour dish that improves in flavor the next day.



  1. Heat butter or oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven.
  2. Add onions and sauté until wilted and translucent.
  3. Add garlic, cinnamon and nutmeg and sauté, stirring, for another 1 – 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in walnuts, pomegranate syrup, stock, sugar, salt, pepper and saffron.
  5. Adjust sugar and salt to taste.
  6. Bring to a low boil and simmer ½ hour.
  7. Add chicken and simmer on low heat another 30 – 60 minutes.
  8. Halfway through the cooking time, add the lime juice to taste.
  9. The sauce will thicken and darken during this cooking time, and the oil will begin to render out of the walnuts.
  10. Add water or stock if necessary to prevent the sauce from thickening too much and scorching.
  11. Serve with plain white rice.
  12. You can use a whole bone-in chicken if you like.
  13. Cut it into 8 serving pieces and remove most of the skin.
  14. The bones will give the dish a richer flavor.


  1. Pomegranate syrup is available in most Middle Eastern and health food stores. If it is unavailable, you can use an equal amount of frozen, concentrated cranberry juice. The flavor is roughly the same.