Margarita's International Recipes

Ancient Persian

Khoresh Faisinjan

Chicken in Pomegranate Sauce

Persia's Khoreshes – or sauces – have been famous since antiquity. They combine fruity and acidic elements and make good use of nuts for texture. This khoresh is an extant dish that uses the type of products tha would have been available to an ancient Persian cook.

In all, I found it very good. I really liked the sauce in particular. I felt, however, that both the chicken and the sauce needed substantially more salt than I used – so I'd advise that you be generous with your seasoning.

Serve with chilau rice

Chicken in Pomegranate Sauce


  • 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 5 lbs chicken parts
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 8 oz walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tbsp. Brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • juice of one lemon


Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in an oven-proof lidded cooking pot. Add the chicken parts and brown on both sides. You may have to do this in batches. Remove the chicken, turn the heat down to medium, add the chopped onion and brown. Return the chicken to the pan and add the nuts, cinnamon stick, brown sugar and pomegranate juice. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cover, put the pot in the oven and cook until the meat is tender and starts falling off the bone – about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the chicken and put in a serving plate. Cover with a napkin and keep warm. Remove excess fat from the sauce, adjust the seasoning and add enough lemon juice to contrast with the sweetness of the dish.

Serve the bird with the sauce.

Adapted from recipe in The British Museum Cookbook

Ancient Persian Recipes | Margarita's International Recipes | E-mail