Pomegranate Walnut Chicken Fesenjan Pressure Cooker Recipe

Recipe Category: Chicken


Pomegranate Walnut Chicken Fesenjan Pressure Cooker Recipe


SERVES 4 to 6 – Cooker: 5- to 7-quart – Time: 7 minutes for sauce, 7 minutes for chicken at HIGH pressure

  • pinch saffron threads (optional)
  • 2 cups walnut pieces
  • 1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into 10 serving pieces (legs, thighs, wings, and each breast half cut into 2 sections crosswise)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2/3 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • fresh pomegranate seeds, for garnish (optional)


  1. If you are using the saffron threads, cut a small piece of aluminum foil about 2 inches by 1 inch
  2. Place the saffron threads in the foil and fold into a neat package
  3. Place the walnuts in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat
  4. Toast the walnuts for about 5 minutes, until you can smell them, stirring frequently
  5. If you are using saffron, add the foil package for the final minute of toasting
  6. Transfer the walnuts to a food processor fitted with the metal blade and let cool
  7. Set the saffron packet aside
  8. Remove as much skin as possible from the chicken and sprinkle with the salt and pepper
  9. In a 5- to 7-quart pressure cooker, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat until very hot
  10. Brown the chicken in batches on both sides until golden, about 3 minutes per side
  11. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate
  12. Grind the walnuts in the food processor until no large pieces remain, but do not over-process or you will release their oil and the mixture will turn into walnut butter
  13. If the pot is dry after browning the chicken, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil
  14. Add the onion and cook over medium-high heat, stirring a few times, until softened, about 3 minutes
  15. Add the cinnamon and cardamom and cook, stirring, for 1 minute
  16. Unwrap the saffron threads and crumble them into the skillet
  17. Add the water and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot
  18. Stir in the walnuts, molasses, sugar, and lemon juice
  19. Close and lock the lid
  20. Set the burner heat to high
  21. When the cooker reaches HIGH pressure, reduce the burner heat as low as you can and still maintain HIGH pressure
  22. Set a timer to cook for 7 minutes
  23. Remove the pot from the heat
  24. Open with the Quick Release method
  25. Be careful of the steam as you remove the lid
  26. Return the chicken to the pot along with any accumulated juice, nestling the pieces into the sauce and spooning some sauce over them
  27. Relock the cooker, bring it back up to HIGH pressure, and cook for another 7 minutes
  28. Quick Release the pressure
  29. Taste the sauce, adding more sugar or lemon juice if needed
  30. Serve the chicken over rice, each portion covered with a ladle of walnut sauce and sprinkled with a few fresh pomegranate seeds, if you have them

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