Pomegranate and Walnut Chicken Stew Recipe

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serves: 4 - 6

For a Persian style twist on a classic casserole recipe, try this sweet and tender chicken casserole that’s bursting with flavour.



  • 250g (8oz) or 4 cups ground walnuts
  • 375ml (13fl oz) 1. cup hot chicken stock or hot water
  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 200ml (7fl oz) 1 cup freshly squeezed pomegranate juice or shop-bought unsweetened juice
  • 3. tbsp pomegranate molasses (Persian brand only)
  • 1. tsp brown sugar
  • 4–5 x 10cm (4in) squares of lavashak (Persian fruit roll)
  • pinch of saffron threads, pounded then dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water
  • 1 tsp sea salt, plus extra to taste
  • twist of pepper
  • fresh pomegranate seeds and gold leaf (optional), to serve


  • Place the ground walnuts in a heavy saucepan and stir constantly over a medium heat until light and golden, about 5–7 minutes. Don’t let them burn.

  • Slightly lower the heat, add the chicken stock or hot water, cover and cook for about 20 minutes.

  • In a frying pan, sear the chicken breasts with the oil, onion, turmeric and pepper until just golden. Add to the walnut mixture, cover and cook for a further 30 minutes on the lowest setting. An old lady from a village in the Caspian region taught me to leave a wooden spoon in the pot so that it conducts the heat and doesn’t allow the stew to catch at the bottom.

  • Add the pomegranate juice, molasses, sugar, lavashak if using, and cook for another 30 minutes with the lid on.

  • Add the saffron liquid 10 minutes before the end.

  • The sauce is ready when it’s a lovely dark colour and the chicken is tender.

  • Season with salt and pepper. The stew should be a perfect balance of sweet and sour. If it’s too sweet, add a bit of lemon juice; if it’s too sour, add a tad more sugar.

  • Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and gold leaf before serving.

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(15 ratings)
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