A white plate of Persian Chicken Stew sprinkled with pomegranate arils.


Persian Chicken Stew with walnuts and pomegranate is out-of-this world amazing! The sauce is rich and flavourful with toasted walnuts, pomegranate molasses and a hint of orange. The presentation is spectacular with sparkling pomegranate arils and fresh, bright green parsley.

The Persian name for this fabulous stew is Fesenjan.

Pomegranate Season

Pomegranates season is from October to January where I live. I don’t notice them in big bins at the grocery store until November but when I do I’ve got two recipes in mind. The Pear Pomegranate Guacamole I make every holiday season and this Persian Chicken Stew that I usually make in January.

What Are Pomegranate Arils?

When you think of a pomegranate you can probably picture the tiny red, jewel like seeds. They’re not actually seeds but these little arils each contains the white seeds of the pomegranate. Arils are tart and juicy while the seeds are crunchy and together they are the only edible part of a pomegranate.

The Pomegranate Trick

If you haven’t tried to get the arils out of the pomegranate yet be warned, you will get splattered in pomegranate juice if you attempt to do this on a cutting board. This is the trick I use.

  • First put on an apron then cut the pomegranate in half on a cutting board. There will be some juice on the board but it shouldn’t go squirting across the room.
  • Put a bowl of water in the sink then submerge the pomegranate into the water cut side down.
  • Gently push the clumps of arils into the water while removing them from the surrounding white pith.
  • When all the arils are separated they will sink to the bottom and the white pith will be floating on the top.

How To Remove Seeds From A Pomegranate

This video in from my Instagram. If you’re over there be sure to follow me and say hi.

All this just for the garnish!

Yes, but that sprinkling of pomegranate arils makes this Persian Chicken Stew with Walnuts and Pomegranate worthy of company. Be sure to take a picture of your finished dish and share it on social media.

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Persian Chicken Stew, pomegranate arils and pomegranate molasses.

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Pomegranate Molasses

Pomegranate molasses is a Middle Eastern specialty ingredient that should be naturally gluten free. You can find it at specialty food shops and online through Amazon here, pomegranate molasses.

Once you have it you’ll want another recipe or two to use it in, right! Try this Middle Eastern Falafel Bowl with tahini dressing and pomegranate dressing.

If you bought pomegranate molasses for the first time and made this Persian Chicken Stew let me know what you thought in the comments below.

More Recipes – Winter Stew and Pomegranate Pear Guacamole

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Persian Chicken Stew

Persian Chicken Stew with walnuts and pomegranate is out-of-this world amazing! The sauce is rich and flavourful with toasted walnuts, pomegranate molasses and a hint of orange. The presentation is spectacular with sparkling pomegranate arils and fresh, bright green parsley.
Author: Cinde Little
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: persian chicken stew


  • 8-12 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • medium onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 3 large strips of orange zest (removed with a vegetable peeler)
  • 2 cups gluten free chicken stock
  • ¼ cup pomegranate molasses
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups whole walnuts
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained (19 oz/540 ml)
  • GARNISH – ¼ cup pomegranate arils and chopped parsley


  • Heat large pot on medium-low heat and toast walnuts until golden, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to plate. Finely grind in nut grinder or food processor.
  • Add oil to the same pot and heat on medium-high.
  • Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Sear until nicely browned on both sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
  • Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 3 minutes.
  • Add cinnamon stick, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin and orange zest. Cook stirring for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add chicken stock, scraping up browned bits.
  • Add pomegranate molasses, maple syrup, salt, chicken and ground walnuts. Bring to a boil.
    Pomegranate Molasses and pomegranate arils to make Persian Chicken Stew called Fesenjan.
  • Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Uncover stew, add chickpeas and simmer to reduce, 10-15 minutes.
  • Garnish with pomegranate arils and fresh parsley.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  • Janet says:

    Hi Cinde,

    I was excited to see this recipe using pomegranate molasses as I made some myself but then didn’t know what to do with it. Mostly just use it as a ketchup substitute. Unfortunately my son has a severe peanut/tree nut allergy so I’m unable to make your chicken stew recipe. Do you think there is something else I could substitute for the walnuts?

    • Cinde Little says:

      Hi Janet! I’m glad you’ve got pomegranate molasses and of course you can substitute. (You have to!) I assume pine nuts are out so I would try pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds or even a combo. Let me know how it turns out because there are others out there who can’t eat nuts that would also love to know. Thanks for asking and happy cooking!

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