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Persian Chicken with Pomegranate and Walnuts


Serves 4 to 6

  • by from Web only

The slow cooker makes this classic Middle Eastern dish a breeze, mostly because the spices mellow slowly into a sweet, aromatic sauce. The walnuts should be finely chopped into bits smaller than grains of rice, or even ground if you want a somewhat smoother sauce. Serve the chicken over long-grain saffron rice.

  • 1-1/2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, halved
  • 2 oz. (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 2 cups toasted walnut pieces, very finely chopped or ground
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • Fresh pomegranate seeds for garnish

Mix the sugar, cinnamon, turmeric, nutmeg, allspice, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a bowl. Add the chicken and coat evenly. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the walnuts and continue cooking, stirring almost constantly, for 2 minutes, until the nuts are lightly browned.

Stir in the pomegranate molasses, then scrape the contents of the skillet into a 6-quart slow cooker. Spoon the spiced chicken on top of the cooked onion mixture, scraping any spices that cling to the bowl into the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low until the chicken is tender and cooked through, 3-1/2 to 5 hours. Season to taste with salt, stir in half of the pomegranate seeds, and garnish with the remainder. Serve.

Photo: Scott Phillips

This was delicious, though very rich. In order to lighten and enliven the flavors next time, I might add a bit of red wine vinegar and a sprinkle of minced fresh herbs (parsley, mint, or cilantro) to finish. I would also throw some garlic in with the onions. Only other change: I will use bone-in thighs next time; on low heat with boneless thighs, this was done in a about an hour, which kind of defeats the purpose of using a slow-cooker.

Easy, different, and delicious! Unless you hate them, don't skip the pomegranate seeds, as they add pretty color to the dish. Subbed in demerara sugar for the white for a more mellow sweetness. Served with brown rice pilaf. Will make it again.

wow. better than anticipated. I substituted almonds for walnuts b/c that's what I had and made my own pomegranate syrup, and it was quite good and easy. will definitely make again.

I'm constantly scouring for slow cooker recipes and almost always disappointed but this one is good enough to serve to company. Simple recipe but delicious!

This is one of the best slow cooker recipes I've tried. Normally I think slow cookers muddy the flavors and the recipes aren't good enough for dinner guests. This one was delicious and I would serve to guests, especially if they like Middle Eastern flavors.

I liked this dish, without tweaking the recipe, I ended up adding another teaspoon of salt. It's very easy to make, I toasted the walnuts in a pan while i cooked the onions and then chopped them in the Cuisinart. My mother absolutely loved it. The flavor is a little sweet and earthy, and it makes a nice sauce that it really yummy with buttered rice. However, personally I thought that it lacked a little depth/richness in flavor. Next time I will add a tablespoon of fish sauce or a bit of tomato paste.

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