I’m sure I’m not the only basic bitch around here who is a big fan of autumn. After a rather disappointing summer, it is a joy to be experiencing a season who knows its stuff, isn’t it? The crispness in the air in the mornings. The crunchy leaves under foot. This is the very best time of year, for me. The sun is still shining more often than not, but it’s still perfectly acceptable to turn your attention to comfort food. Because, of course, the joy of the changing seasons is so much in the change in menu, is it not? Roast dinners with plenty of gravy, freshly baked apple pies, stews and big hunks of crusty bread. The food of autumn is like wrapping yourself in a snuggly blanket. I have some old favourites that I always like to bring out at this time of year – sausage and bean casserole, my fail safe chicken curry and these pork, apple & cheddar meatballs – but it’s always nice to try something a little bit different.
I made this pomegranate & walnut chicken stew for a dinner party of sorts, served up alongside some other middle Eastern inspired dishes, but I actually think it’s a pretty good weeknight meal. It’s warming and cosy, but with the bright crunch of the pomegranate seeds doesn’t feel too wintery. Plus, it reheats pretty well in the microwave (sans pomegranate seeds) if you want to take the leftovers in for lunch the next day. The combination of toasted walnuts and sweet pomegranate molasses is enough to brighten even the rainiest of days, and you can easily double (or triple) if you’re feeding a big group. Serve with rice or fresh flatbreads, and maybe some honey roasted carrots if you’re after some more vegetables in you life.
- 300g walnut halves
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 chicken breasts, cubed
- 400ml chicken stock
- 50ml pomegranate molasses
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- pinch of cinnamon & nutmeg
- salt & pepper to taste
- pomegranate seeds & chopped parsley, to serve (optional)
- Toast the walnut halves in a frying pan over a medium heat. Allow to cool and then blend in a food processor until you have a fine meal.
- In a large saucepan or casserole dish, fry the onions and chicken until the onions have softened and the chicken has started to brown.
- Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil.
- Stir in the pomegranate molasses, honey, turmeric, cinnamon and nutmeg followed by the ground walnuts. Season to taste.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 15-25 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked through.
- Serve with basmati rice or flatbreads (or both!), and scatter the pomegranate seeds & parsley on top.