Walnut-Crusted Chicken with Pomegranate Sauce is an updated, elegant “deconstructed” twist on the classic Middle-Eastern dish known as Fesenjan that everyone will enjoy!
If you told your family you were having Fesenjan for dinner, chances are they wouldn’t have a clue what you were talking about.
Fesenjan is a traditional Iranian stew typically made with pomegranate molasses (or paste), ground walnuts and poultry such as duck or chicken. It’s a dish I make frequently for one of my well-traveled clients.
When planning for this month’s Progressive Eats theme on pomegranates, Fesenjan seemed to be a natural choice given how often I make it. But then, I decided to put my own modern twist on the dish that everyone in your household is sure to enjoy!
For this interpretation, boneless skinless chicken breasts get a coating of finely chopped walnuts for a delicious crunchy exterior! Rather than braising chicken or duck in pomegranate molasses (which can be difficult to find), this version has an easy-to-make sauce prepared on the stovetop that uses pomegranate juice, port wine, a little chicken broth, butter for depth and a touch of honey for sweetness.
How to make Walnut-Crusted Chicken with Pomegranate Sauce:
- The sauce is super simple, made in a saucepan and you’ll want to get it going before you bake the chicken. Simply combine finely chopped shallot, pomegranate juice, ruby or tawny port wine and chicken broth in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer away until it’s reduced by 1/3 to 1/2.
- Combine a little corn starch with a little chicken broth, add it to the sauce and simmer until it thickens.
- Then whisk in some butter, honey and salt and black pepper.
- For the chicken, start with about 2 cups walnut “pieces.” You could also use walnut halves, but you’ll probably need more than 2 cups to end up with the required amount of finely chopped walnuts.
- Process until finely chopped in a food processor, preferably a mini food processor. You should end up with just over 1 3/4 cups finely chopped walnuts.
- Combine the finely chopped walnuts with dried thyme, salt and black pepper and some fresh parsley.
- Coat the chicken with Dijon mustard then dredge in the walnut mixture and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Give it a shot of cooking spray to moisten the nuts and prevent them from burning.
- Place in the oven on a rack in the middle of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees in the center.
- Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve with the sauce!
That’s it! So easy and so elegant! Perfect for a family dinner or dinner party!
All you need is a green veggie on the side!
And now it’s time for our Progressive Eats Pomegranate Party!
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is Everything Pomegranate — from pomegranate juice to molasses to fresh arils straight from the fruit. Our host this month is Beth Lee who blogs at OMG! Yummy.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats it’s a virtual party. We choose a theme each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. Come along and see all of the deliciousness we’ve put together for our celebration inspired dishes!
A Pomegranate Party
- The Sugarplum Cocktail – Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Pomegranate Cosmopolitan Cocktail – That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Crostini with Goat Cheese, Pomegranate, and Rosemary – Creative Culinary
- Mango Chickpea Kale Farro Salad – Shockingly Delicious
- Walnut-Crusted Chicken with Pomegranate Sauce – From a Chef’s Kitchen (You’re here!!)
- Pomegranate-Glazed Hasselback Butternut Squash + Quinoa and Apples – The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Instant Pot Brisket with Pomegranate Molasses – OMG! Yummy
- Roasted Spicy Orange-Pomegranate Glazed Winter Vegetables – Beyond Mere Sustenance
Helpful tools and equipment to make Walnut-Crusted Chicken with Pomegranate Sauce (Affiliate Links):
- POMEGRANATE SAUCE
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup port wine, tawny or ruby
- 1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
- 1/2 cup chicken broth, divided
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 1 tablespoon honey, or to taste
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 3/4 cups finely chopped walnuts (start with 2 cups walnut "pieces")
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley plus more for garnish
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
- Cooking spray
- Parsley sprigs, for garnish
- POMEGRANATE SAUCE: Combine shallot and port wine in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to approximately 2 tablespoons.
- Add all the pomegranate juice and chicken broth LESS 1 TABLESPOON. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20-30 minutes or until reduced by 1/3 to 1/2.
- Combine corn starch with the remaining 1 tablespoon chicken broth in a small bowl. Add to sauce.
- Simmer until it starts to thicken.
- Add butter, honey and salt and black pepper, to taste. Keep warm.
- CHICKEN: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine walnuts, thyme, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.
- Coat the chicken with the mustard. Dredge in the nut mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees in the center.
MAKE AHEAD: SAUCE: Sauce may be prepared 1-2 days ahead. Gently reheat in the microwave or stovetop. CHICKEN: Coat with walnuts 1 day ahead and refrigerate covered until needed.
Amount Per Serving Calories 863 Total Fat 55g Saturated Fat 13g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 38g Cholesterol 154mg Sodium 1024mg Carbohydrates 44g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 8g Sugar 30g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 53g