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Persian Chicken with Pomegranate and Walnuts

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4 to 6

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.


Rate or Review


  • cook1000 | 12/03/2017

    Is there anyway to use breasts instead of thighs? Maybe skip the slow cooker for shorter cooktime in oven? I find dark meat texture unappetizing. It seems all the recipes I think I would like uses thighs. Sigh....

  • kungfukaren | 02/29/2016

    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.

  • pghgrl | 01/23/2016

    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.

  • jennifay | 01/05/2016

    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.

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