Iranian cooking is “legendary” throughout the Middle East, said Anissa Helou in Saveur. Many dishes of the region trace their roots to Persian precedents, as do certain specialties of India and the fragrant tagines of Morocco. A khoresht is a stew of meat, herbs, and vegetables or fruit that’s simmered slowly “until the whole is thick and rich.”
Khoresht-e fesenjan (Chicken and walnut stew)
¼ cup canola oil
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2½-inch pieces
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1½ tbsp ground turmeric
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cups finely chopped spinach
1½ lbs walnuts
2 cups pomegranate molasses
¼ cup sugar
sliced red onion, to garnish
Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, season chicken with salt and pepper, and add to skillet; cook, turning until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate; set aside. Add turmeric and onion to skillet; cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add spinach; cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, process walnuts in food processor into a very fine paste, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a 6-quart Dutch oven and heat over medium-low heat; cook until fragrant, about 15 minutes. Stir in 8 cups water and bring to simmer over medium heat; cook, skimming any oil that floats to the surface, until light brown and thickened, about 2 hours. Add molasses and sugar; cook until thickened once more, about 25 minutes. Add chicken and onion-spinach mixture; cook until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Garnish with red onion. Serves 6 to 8.