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Alan Rosenthal’s Persian chicken stew with sour cherries, walnuts and pomegranate


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

Serves 2


65g walnuts
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)
To serve
1-2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
Chopped parsley


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.



Filed under: Cooking


Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.


  1. i love fesenjan- i havent blogged about it bec it’s so difficult to photograph- love your photo- looks delicious. x

  2. Meister @ The Nervous Cook says

    This sounds great — I love albaloo polo, so I’m sure I’d love this stew as well. Sour cherries are such a surprising and delicious addition to a chicken dish!

  3. As a stew fan I’m very tempted to get that book :) it’s got great amazon reviews! mmm think I’ll go get it ;)

  4. Arthur Tingley says

    Dear ELAG,

    I just drooled on my keyboard! Can’t wait to try the Persian Chicken :)

    Love you blogg!!

    Mr Tingley

  5. This recipe is awesome….the little pots are in some Waitrose, Sainsburys Local and a few other stores…hunt them out, fantastic lunch or dinner!

  6. Sounds divine; nb am also so impressed at how you managed to make a brown stew (albeit a very very tasty sounding one) look so appetising in the photo…

  7. I have just bought the ingredients to make this next weekend (can’t believe I am planning that far in advance!!)..will let you know how it goes, looks fab x

  8. Pingback: Persian Chicken Stew with Pomegranate and Almonds | Girl Interrupted Eating

  9. June Hashim says

    It is a must try but I am concerned about the sour cherries being too sour? Guess I can lessen the quantity or substitute with cherries.

  10. Tim Corcoran says

    Tried it, everyone loved it. Used a 4-qt enameled dutch oven, and served over long-grain rice seasoned with sumac (a usual Persian approach to rice). One trick for onions: they soften much quicker if you add 1/4 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda). You can then add 1-2 tsp balsamic vinegar with the spices to bring back the acidity.

Over to you! Your comments - I would love to hear from you :)