Join Culinate

With a free Culinate membership, you can:

  • Create your own recipe collections
  • Queue recipes for later use
  • Blog your culinary endeavors
  • Be part of our online community of cooks
  • And much more…
Join Now

Pomegranate Khoresh with Chicken

From the book Food of Life by
Serves 4
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1½ hours


5 Tbsp. oil, butter, or ghee
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 lb. chicken legs, cut up
1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes (see Note)
½ lb. (2 cups) shelled walnuts
4 cups pure pomegranate juice
2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses
½ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
¼ tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground saffron, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
2 Tbsp. grape molasses or sugar (optional)


~ Arils of 1 fresh pomegranate
2 Tbsp. toasted walnuts


  1. In a Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat until very hot, and sauté the onions. Remove from pot with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons oil and brown the chicken. Add the butternut squash and sauté for a few minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the walnuts in a pan sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a food processor, finely grind the sautéed onions with the toasted walnuts (set aside a few walnuts for the garnish), add 1 cup pomegranate juice, the pomegranate molasses, salt, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, saffron water, and grape molasses, and mix well to create a creamy paste.
  4. Add the creamy walnut paste and the remaining pomegranate juice to the Dutch oven, stirring gently. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to prevent the walnuts from burning.
  5. The khoresh should be sweet and sour and have the consistency of heavy cream. Adjust to taste by adding pomegranate molasses for sourness or grape molasses for sweetness. If the sauce is too thick, thin it with more pomegranate juice.
  6. Transfer the khoresh from the Dutch oven to a deep, ovenproof casserole. Cover and place in a warm oven until ready to serve with chelow (saffron-steamed rice). Just prior to serving, sprinkle with fresh pomegranate arils and walnuts.


The butternut squash can be replaced with 2 cups peeled and cubed beets, quinces, carrots, or prunes.

Vegetarian Pomegranate and Eggplant Khoresh (Shishandaz): Eliminate the chicken from the ingredients. In step 1, replace the butternut squash with 2 pounds slim eggplants, peeled and chopped into 2-inch pieces, and sauté the eggplant with the onions. Proceed with the recipe from step 2.

Caspian-Style Pomegranate Khoresh with Fish: Eliminate the chicken in step 1 and replace it with 2 pounds of white fish fillets, cut into 3-inch lengths and seared in 2 tablespoons oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add it to the khoresh in step 5.

Pistachio Khoresh-e Fesenjan: In Kerman, the walnuts are replaced with shelled pistachio kernels to make a pistachio fesenjan.

Pomegranate Khoresh with Roasted Duck: Make a vegetarian version and serve it with duck. Rub a duck, inside and out, with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon black pepper. Stuff it with 2 cloves garlic and 2 spring onions, and roast at 350 degrees for 3 hours. Just before serving, carve or serve whole with khoresh.

Related article: Nuts and seeds

This content is from the book Food of Life by Najmieh Batmanglij.

There are no comments on this item
Add a comment

Think before you type

Culinate welcomes comments that are on-topic, clean, and courteous. For the benefit of the community we reserve the right to delete comments that contain advertising, personal attacks, profanity, or which are thinly disguised attempts to promote another website.

Please enter your comment

Format: Bare URLs are automatically linked; use this style: [ "place text to be linked here"] for prettier links. You may specify *bold* or _italic_ text. No HTML please.

Please identify yourself

Not a member? Sign up!

Please prove that you’re not a computer

Our Table

Joy of Cooking app

A new tool for the kitchen

The latest in our collection of cooking apps.

Graze: Bites from the Site
First Person

The secret sharer

A father’s legacy

The Culinate Interview

Mollie Katzen

The vegetarian-cooking pioneer


Down South

Barbecue, tamales, cocktails, and more

Local Flavors

A winter romesco sauce

Good on everything

Editor’s Choice