Coco Morante’s The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook gives tips and tricks for killer comfort food made with everyone’s favorite countertop appliance.
Here is a simplified take on fesenjān, a classic Iranian dish of chicken simmered in a rich, tangy sauce of toasted walnuts and pomegranate molasses. You can either cut up a whole chicken or use an equivalent weight of bone-in, skin-on drumsticks and thighs. (For a faster version, use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs.) Easy but elegant, this dish is great for both weeknight suppers and weekend dinner parties.
To make this recipe with boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, skip the searing step and use the oil to sauté the walnuts. Omit defatting the sauce before serving.
- In a food processor, pulse the walnuts until finely and evenly ground. Season the chicken pieces on both sides with the salt and pepper.
- Select the Sauté setting on the Instant Pot and heat the oil. Add half of the chicken pieces and sear, turning once, for 4 minutes on each side, until browned. Transfer the seared chicken to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Add the ground walnuts to the oil and rendered chicken fat remaining in the Instant Pot and sauté for 3 minutes. They will become a bit toasty and aromatic, leaving lots of browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Stir in the onion and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes, until the onion is slightly softened. Stir in the cinnamon and sauté for 1 more minute.
- Stir in the pomegranate molasses and water, using a wooden spoon to nudge all of the browned bits from the pot bottom and incorporate them into the sauce. Return the chicken pieces to the pot, coating them with the sauce and arranging the pieces in a single layer. Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Press the Cancel button to reset the cooking program, then select the Poultry setting and set the cooking time for 10 minutes at high pressure.
- Let the pressure release naturally for at least 10 minutes, then move the Pressure Release to Venting to release any remaining steam. Open the pot and use a ladle or large spoon to skim off the fat from the surface of the sauce.
- To serve, using a slotted spoon, arrange the chicken over the rice on individual plates and then ladle the sauce on top. Sprinkle each serving with pomegranate seeds and parsley.
Reprinted with permission from The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook, copyright © 2017 by Coco Morante, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.