Recipe: Persian Chicken and Prune Stew (Khoresh Aloo)

Persian Prune Stew (Khoresh Aloo)

Persians have mastered the art of combining meat with fruit. Coming from someone who never really cared for the two together, I can tell you that Persians do it well and this dish is a prime example.

If you're squirming from the sound of prunes and chicken in stew form, let me try to describe it to you before you decide you're gonna hate it. The base is sweet, tangy and almost candy like. The chicken combined with the slow cooked onions, and some salt + pepper provide the savory elements needed to give it the sweet/salty phenomenon (but more on the sweet side). Serve this stew on a bed of fluffy basmati rice and you've got something that will satisfy your tastebuds in a totally different way.

This recipe calls for pomegranate paste, which is a thick molasses-like paste made of pomegranate concentrate. You can find this at your local Persian grocery/specialty store.

Persian Chicken and Prune Stew (Khoresh Aloo)
- 2 cups of prunes
- 1-2 chicken breasts, cut into 2.5 inch strips (depends on how much meat you want)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups of water
- 2 Tbsp of pomegranate paste
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste

1. In an oiled pan, saute the onions until translucent (about 2-3 minutes). Add the  chicken and saute for 3 minutes until partially cooked and lightly brown on the outside.

2. Add the water and prunes. Bring the water to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes, covered with the lid on. Add more water part way through if necessary. If the heat is too high, the water may evaporate.

3. While simmering, uncover the stew and with a spatula, mash up 1/4 of the prunes so that it helps form a thick sauce. Add 2 Tbsp of pomegranate sauce, salt and pepper to taste, and mix well. Turn off the heat and serve hot.

You can use any type of chicken you want. Feel free to use all dark meat or mix it with both white and dark. If you prefer a more meaty stew, go ahead and add more chicken to the recipe.