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Chicken with Walnuts & Pomegranate

Updated February 23, 2016
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Serve this rich sweet-sour braised chicken dish over plain basmati rice or, better, Persian rice with a shard of tahdig (the buttery crust that forms on the bottom of the skillet as Persian rice cooks). You’ll notice that there’s no salt in this dish: It simply isn’t necessary. Sometimes I use low-sodium chicken stock instead of the water and bay leaf, but the flavor is just as deep and complex with plain water.

4-quart slow cooker

Pomegranate molasses (or concentrate) is available in bottles in Middle Eastern food stores. The best ones are those made in Lebanon.

Serves4

Cooking Methodslow cooking

CostInexpensive

Easy

Total Timehalf-day

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, lactose-free, low sodium, soy free

Equipmentfood processor

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturefruity, meaty, nutty, sweet

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken thighs (about 8), skin and excess fat removed
  • 3 cups walnuts
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate molasses (see Note)
  • ½ cup fresh pomegranate seeds or dried barberries

Instructions

Put the chicken thighs in a 4-quart slow cooker.

In a large skillet, toast the walnuts over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Transfer the walnuts to a food processor and finely chop them. Add the walnuts and bay leaf to the cooker. Pour in 1 2/3 cups water and cook, covered, on the low setting for 3 to 4 hours, until the chicken is tender.

Using tongs, remove the chicken thighs to a board and pull the meat off the bones in large chunks; set the meat aside.

Turn the cooker to the high setting. Stir the sugar and pomegranate molasses into the sauce and cook, uncovered, for 1 hour, until the sauce is thickened and simmering. (If you prefer a much thicker sauce, pour it into a large saucepan and bring to a full boil over high heat; boil for 20 to 25 minutes, then add the chicken to the sauce and cook to heat through.) Return the chicken to the sauce and cook until heated through; retrieve and discard the bay leaf. Serve hot, sprinkled with the pomegranate seeds.

 

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