Pomegranate Chicken Stew
Toronto must be one of the most diverse cities on the planet. Its diversity manifests itself through its so called "mosaic culture." Thousands of immigrants come to Toronto every day and are not only allowed but also encouraged to preserve the culture they brought from home. One of the most exciting components of the city's mosaic culture is its rich and vibrant gastronomic world. Exploring it is my favourite pass time. Italian, Indian, Ethiopian, Korean, Cuban... You name - we got it. And probably in a walking distance from each other. The only prerequisite is - you have to be adventurous and if you are, you can eat your way through the world and transport yourself wherever your heart longs to travel to. And if you don't feel like going out, you can do it all in the comfort of your own kitchen.
I happen to adore Persian food. I love how exotic and tantalizing it is. One of my favourite Persian dishes is Fesenjan or Pomegranate Chicken Stew. It is bursting with sweetness of pomegranates and honey, the earthiness of toasted walnuts and enticing combination of spices like turmeric, cinnamon and nutmeg. Fesenjan is a perfect balance of flavours that seem to get more contoured and stimulating with every bite. It is usually served over warm basmati rice, garnished with fresh pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top and it is surprisingly easy to make. This is one of the best recipes I found one rainy afternoon when cooking at home was the most comforting thing to do. Ingredients:
1 yellow onion,
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses,
2 cups walnuts,
3 boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes,
2 cups of chicken stock,
3 Tbsp honey,
1 teaspoon turmeric,
Salt to taste,
1/4 tsp nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper,
Pomegranate seeds for garnishing.
Toast your walnuts in a small pan for about 8 minutes on a low heat. Once toasted, blend them until they resemble coarse salt. In a large pot, sauté your cubed chicken in some olive oil. You may need to do it in few batches so you don't overcrowd the pot and the browning happens. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add your stock and once it boils, reduce to simmer. Add honey, pomegranate molasses, spices and walnuts. Simmer for 30 minutes and serve right away or the next day. Leftovers are fantastic because the flavours intensify and become even more robust after they sit and rest for 12 hr or so.