Twitter is a wonderful thing. I’ve met many interesting people, mostly but not exclusively in food, and one of them is Alan Rosenthal. Fed up of his desk job, he made the jump and started a business in food.
After training at Leith’s he started Stewed!, and makes soups and stews that are sold fresh in little pots in supermarkets. Some are very inventive and delicious and the recipes are published in his cookbook Stewed! – available on Amazon at a bargain £8.53.
At a fun and informative cooking demonstration/class at his alma mater Leith’s Cookery School this week, we cooked his sublime Persian chicken stew with sour cherries, walnuts and pomegranate. It is definitely a keeper, sweet, sour and rich, with tender chicken thigh and gorgeous Persian flavours, Alan has allowed me to share it with you here. Do try it and enjoy!
Persian chicken stew with sour cherries, walnuts and pomegranate
10g unsalted butter
1.25 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
½ clove of garlic, crushed
¼ tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
40g dried sour cherries
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs or 2 boneless and skinned breasts (about ½kg) cut into 3-4cm pieces
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
250ml chicken stock or water
Salt and black pepper
Lemon juice (if needed)
1-2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
First, roast the walnuts on a baking tray at 180C for 10-15 minutes, until they’re starting to colour and smoke a little. Remove, let them cool a bit then grind them in a blender or mortar and pestle. You want to get them pretty fine and starting to turn a little buttery.
Meanwhile, heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan or casserole dish on the hob. Add the onions and cook gently for about 20 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally until they’re very soft but not turning brown. Once they’re soft, add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes. Next throw in the turmeric, cinnamon and sour cherries. Cook on a medium heat for a couple of minutes then add the chicken. Turn the heat up a little and cook the chicken in the spices and onions until sealed — about 5 minutes.
Next add the pomegranate molasses and ground walnuts. Stir well then add stock or water along with a few grinds of black pepper and some salt. Bring to a simmer then lower the flame. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked. Season to taste, adding a squeeze of lemon if it needs it.
Scatter some pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley over the top.