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Persian Pomegranate Walnut Chicken

Nancy Granada of Vancouver, Washington
Serves 4 to 6
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds whole chicken pieces (I prefer a mix of breast, thigh and leg; preferably skinless and bone-in)
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced in half and cut into thin strips
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon, cardamom and turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts, ground coarsely in a food processor
  • brown basmati rice for serving
A couple of notes before you begin: If you are using a slow cooker that has a stove-top function, you can do all of these steps in there. If your slow cooker does not have this function, you'll need to heat your slow cooker on high as you complete the first 4 steps in a separate pan on the stove top. Once you've completed the first 4 steps, transfer everything over to your heated slow cooker and continue the recipe from there.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or slow cooker (set on stove top function) over medium high heat.
Wash the chicken pieces and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper, and sauté until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sauté until the onions become soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the spices, salt and pepper; cook for 3 minutes.
Add the pomegranate molasses, dark brown sugar, and lime juice and cook for 2 minutes (transfer to slow cooker if you are using one). Add the chicken stock, ground walnuts and chicken.
Set the slow cooker to high until it comes to a rolling simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 6 hours, turning the chicken a couple of times during cooking time.
At the end of the cooking time, remove the chicken from the pot and place in a bowl. Turn the slow cooker to stove top-high temp or transfer the sauce in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a rolling simmer over medium-high heat. Allow the sauce to cook (uncovered) at a strong simmer until thickened and reduced by half, about 20 minutes.
While the sauce is reducing, remove the chicken from the bones. (The meat will literally just fall off.) Be careful to remove all bones.
Once the sauce has reduced, place the chicken back in the sauce and allow to warm through. Serve with brown basmati rice and your favorite veggies on the side.
Paula's note: The chicken is delicious and the sauce is indeed pucker-y. I added some raisins to the sauce as it was reducing, and served the dish with roasted carrots, which provide a sweet counterpoint. I also cheated and used boneless skinless chicken, and it worked just fine.


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