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!
It’s also Progressive Eats time, the online progressive dinner party I do with some of my food blogger friends! Our theme this month is everything pomegranate–from cocktails to appetizers, salad to the main dish and some luscious desserts!
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
Chicken Pinot Noir with Wild Mushrooms and Fresh Basil
Chicken Pinot Noir with Wild Mushrooms and Fresh Basil is a dish with a European flair! A rich, yet light wine sauce with earthy wild mushrooms is perfect for transitioning from summer to fall!
Chicken Bouillabaisse is a French-inspired rustic chicken stew that's lush and luxurious and elegant enough to serve to guests!
Chicken Tostadas with Black Bean Guacamole and Salsa Fresca
Chicken Tostadas with Black Bean Guacamole and Salsa Fresca are perfect for a fun dinner or festive addition to your Cinco de Mayo party! They’re piled high with guacamole, marinated grilled chicken, fresh salsa, lettuce and queso fresco cheese.
Chicken Asparagus Divan
Chicken Asparagus Divan is a spring-inspired twist on a retro dinner party favorite! It's creamy, cheesy, luxurious and perfect for a spring special occasion!
Chicken Scallopini with Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille
Chicken Scallopini with Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille is a twist on Italian Chicken Parmigiana and classic French Ratatouille!
Chicken in Rosa Sauce with Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Spinach
Chicken in Rosa Sauce with Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Spinach is perfect for your romantic Valentine's Day dinner at home! This simply delicious romantic Tuscan-inspired meal will have you asking for amoré!
Cuban Chicken and Black Bean - Quinoa Bowls
Cuban Chicken and Black Bean - Quinoa Bowls are flavor-packed, healthful, comforting and sure to brighten up your day! It's like a tropical getaway in a bowl!
Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Butternut Squash Chickpeas and Olives
Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Butternut Squash, Chickpeas and Olives is lovely, budget-friendly, low-stress exotic dinner you'll love coming home to or serving to guests!
Bruschetta Chicken with Zucchini Noodles
Bruschetta Chicken with Zucchini Noodles is Italian-inspired, light, fresh, healthful and easy as summer itself. Perfect for low-carb, Paleo or gluten-free diets, too!
Southwestern Chicken Orzo and Black Bean Skillet
Southwestern Chicken, Orzo and Black Bean Skillet is an easy and festive stovetop dinner that's perfect for a weeknight! Your family will ask for it again and again!
Curry Braised Chicken Thighs
Spice up the night with your loved one with this Indian-inspired dinner for two! Serve with plenty of brown basmati rice to soak up this flavorful sauce.
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