Fesenjan in Honor of Queen Esther
This year, I decided it is time to celebrate Purim with a Persian dish, to honor the heritage of Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim story.
Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai saved our people from Haman’s plot to slaughter the Jews. Because we are so thankful for this miracle, we celebrate with food and drink, we make noise, and dress in costumes and in all respects, make merry. This year our Purim observance begins at sundown on March 20.
I will be serving a riff on Fesenjan, which is chicken braised in a tangy, savory gravy, thickened with ground nuts.
Authentic Fesenjan uses walnuts, which are verboten in our kitchen because of allergies, so I substituted almonds. The recipe calls for pomegranate molasses, which provides a sweet-and-tangy flavor. I find it’s worth having a bottle of this condiment because I use it from time to time, however, you can substitute boiled down pomegranate juice (it should be as thick as syrup).
If you’d like to serve some tasty Persian style chicken this year for Purim, try the recipe below. Steamed rice and a leafy green vegetable would be ideal accompaniments. For dessert? For me it’s always hamantashen.
Ronnie Fein is a cookbook author, food writer and cooking teacher in Stamford. She is the author of The Modern Kosher Kitchen and Hip Kosher. Visit her food blog, Kitchen Vignettes, at www.ronniefein.com, friend on Facebook at RonnieVailFein, Twitter at @RonnieVFein, Instagram at RonnieVFein.