I first fell in love with this dish at the Stewed! kiosk in Reading, when I tasted it about a month ago. It had a sweet/sour flavour, and as well as chicken, it contained walnuts, sour cherries and pomegranate molasses. To be honest, I'd never tried pomegranate molasses before, but the stew had a fruity but sharp taste which I loved, and so I happily wolfed it down.
Now, I have my own copy of the Stewed! cookbook and when I saw the recipe for Persian Chicken Stew in there, I couldn't wait to try it. It's really easy to make, and you won't be disappointed with it. You can get bored with the same old dishes time and time again and this is something that's really simple to make, but tastes really unusual. I loved it, and we'll be making it again. Even the girls loved it (minus the crunchy pomegranate seeds - they were ALL MINE.)!
All you do is gently soften some onions, cinnamon and turmeric and then add in the chicken thighs. I really do think you need to use thighs here as they stay juicy and tender and don't have as much of a tendency to dry out and go stringy like breast meat does. Then, in various stages, you add ground walnuts, stock and pomegranate molasses. This might be where you could come unstuck. In the recipe, the book's author Alan Rosenthal suggests that you can pick up pomegranate molasses in supermarkets, and you can. You just need to search them out. If your local supermarket stocks it, you'll find it in the aisle where they keep things like harissa paste, wasabi and porcini mushrooms. It's a great ingredient - so sweet in flavour that it's sour - and I can't wait to find other ways to use it in cooking. (The label on the bottle suggests drizzling it over vanilla ice cream - I am going to HAVE to try that).
On Twitter, Alan suggested that I use 400ml of stock instead of the 500ml that the recipe states - and the consistency of the sauce was fairly thick - just right. The walnuts thicken it all up quite a bit - it's just an amazing stew and I really loved it, scattered afterwards with scooped out pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley and served with Basmati rice, soya beans and peas. If you're looking for a one pot meal that's a bit out of the ordinary, then do try this.
For more details about the Stewed! cookbook click here.