Rosh Hashanah Recipe: Fesenjan Persian Chicken with Pomegranate Walnut Sauce

A good friend introduced me to this Rosh Hashanah Fesenjan Persian Chicken with Pomegranate Walnut Sauce recipe a few years ago, and it’s been a New Year staple of mine ever since.  To say that it tastes divine is an understatement.  As a matter of fact, my book club has me to bring it to our annual holiday party every year.  They think I am an outstanding cook.  Little do they know that this is one of the only dishes I make really well.

You don’t use real pomegranates in the recipe, rather you use pomegranate molasses.  This isn’t as hard to find as it sounds. You might find it at your local Kosher shop.  I choose to drive to a wonderful Middle Eastern shop in White Plans called Yaranush (322 Central Avenue) so I can pick up other goodies like Israeli spices, tea, rice and other delicacies that I can’t get anywhere else.  I always look forward to the trip.  Everything else in the recipe is straight forward and it’s very easy to make.

The recipe feeds about 6-8 people.  I usually double it and freeze what we don’t eat.  It’s good to have on hand for other occasions.

All you need is:

2-1/2 cups of walnuts

2 large onions minced

1/4 cup oil

5 lbs. of chicken pieces

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. fresh black pepper

2 tsp. salt

1/2 can of tomato sauce (2-3 tbs.)

2 tbs. fresh lemon juice

4 tbs. sugar

2-1/2 cups of water

1/3 cup pomegranate molasses/paste.


Skin and bake the chicken pieces for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

To make the sauce (which can be made the day before or the day of), grind the walnuts in a cuisinart until very fine.  Then roast them in an iron skillet, stirring constantly.  When the nuts turn brown and give off a nice smell, dump them in a bowl.

Cut the onions very fine.  Saute them in oil over medium heat until they are clear (not brown).  Use a large, heavy pot.

When the onions are cooked, add everything else to the pot, except the chicken.

Cook this for an hour or so over low heat.

Then add the chicken and cook it until you serve it (can’t be cooked too long).  Stir in occasionally so that it doesn’t burn.

Serve with Persian rice.

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  1. Molasses is hard to find. There are plenty of pomegranate chicken stew recipes that use juice rather than molasses.

  2. I was just discussing the holiday menu with my mother and were talking about mixing it up. Thanks for this recipe, though no kosher shop near me so not sure where that pomegranate molasses is going to come from. And I’m not sure that improvising will work well here. Hmmm….

  3. That sounds amazing! I am going to make this! Can you believe Rosh Hashana is just a week away? YIKES! So not ready!


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