Because the Baha’i faith was born out of what was formerly Persia, Persian recipes are very appropriate for Ayyam-i-Ha. This recipe for fesenjan, also called fesanjoon depending on the regional dialect, combines chicken with pomegranates and walnuts for an amazing explosion of taste.
1/4 cup olive oil
2 to 3 pounds of chicken, cut into pieces
2 diced onions
2 cups of walnuts, finely ground (in a food processor)
2-3 cups of water (you can alternatively use chicken stock for extra flavor)
2/3 cup pomegranate syrup (also called pomegranate molasses)
1-3 tablespoons of sugar
Salt and pepper – to taste
1. Put the ground walnuts in a heated pan with oil and heat until they are fragrant or ever-slightly brown. Remove from heat.
2. Heat the oil in a large pan. Brown the chicken on both sides and set aside.
3. Saute the onions in the same pan until translucent.
4. Add the toasted walnuts and water to a deep pan (which has a cover). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
5. Stir in the pomegranate syrup, sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer for another 30 minutes.
6. Add in the chicken. Simmer another 30 minutes until the chicken is tender, the sauce is somewhat thickened and the walnuts give off their oil. Adjust seasoning.
Notes and Modifications:
Pomegranate molasses can be found at Middle Eastern groceries or in the specialty aisle of regular supermarkets if you’re lucky. If you can not find it, there are two alternatives: (1) use pomegranate juice combined with molasses or (2) concentrated frozen cranberry juice.
You can add 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon when sauteing the onions for a richer flavor.
If you like the recipe sweeter, add more sugar. For more sour, add more pomegranate syrup.
This dish is best served with saffron rice.