Persian chicken and butternut stew (Khoresh)

October 8, 2011  •  Category:


Living in Los Angeles and Orange County allowed me to meet and befriend Persians and fall in love with Persian cuisine. It is a refined and exquisite cuisine  and one from which there is much to learn.

The easiest introduction to Persian cuisine is through the rich and varied khoresh or stews. Just as in Lebanese cuisine, every vegetable under the sun is showcased in these stews but what sets Persian cuisine apart is the unabashed use of fruits as well. Sweet and savory are combined in a subtle way that enchants the palate.

Here, butternut and prunes are simmered slowly in a sweet citrus sauce. The meat used can be veal or beef or lamb or chicken indifferently. Saffron is always added to add another layer of unmistakably Persian flavor.

This recipe is inspired by Najmieh Batmanglij Food of Life.

INGREDIENTS: 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 1/2 pounds of chicken pieces (thighs or drumsticks)
  • 2 onions
  • 1 pound of butternut pieces
  • 1 cup of seedless prunes
  • 1 cup of lime or orange juice
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 1/2  tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of saffron
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil or butter as needed


  1. Brown the chicken pieces in a little oil; chop the onions and brown them as well. Add 2 cups of water to the pan, salt, pepper and cinnamon and cover the lid and bring to a simmer; simmer the chicken and onions gently for 30 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, heat a little butter or oil and stir-fry the butternut pieces for 10 minutes over gentle heat. Add to the chicken and onions and add the prunes; add the lime or orange juice, sugar and saffron. Simmer gently for 20 to 30 minutes more. Taste to adjust seasoning and serve warm with basmati rice.


13 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Sonia Rumzi says:

    Wow! That even looks yummy. Wonderful recipe for the fall. Thank you.

  2. Devaki says:

    Oh my goodness, Joumana I just finished dinner and I am sitting here awestruck thinking that I could polish off that plate in a heart beat! One of these days I have to get myself to Dallas so we can eat together 🙂

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  3. Belinda @zomppa says:

    I am a HUGE fan of Persian food too, and this chicken is sumptuous!

  4. domi says:

    Voilà une recette qui me ” trans-Perse ” de joie avec ses saveurs et senteurs automnales…

  5. Cherine says:

    This dish looks delicious…

  6. Libyan Food says:

    This looks very similar to a Libyan raisin, pumpkin and/or chestnut stew that I hope to post for Halloween. The favours are very different though. I am crazy about saffron so will try this as soon as I buy the pumpkin.

  7. Nadji says:

    Tu m’invites quand tu veux.
    Le genre de plat que j’adore.
    A très bientôt.

  8. Marina says:

    Très beau plat d’automne doux et réconfortant…vraiment appétissant!

  9. Nuts about food says:

    My best friend is Persian and I agree, Persian food is outstanding. I have been lucky enough to eat many homemade dishes at her house.

  10. Oui, Chef says:

    I’m always looking for delicious one-pot meals, thanks so much for this one!

  11. Susan says:

    This sounds wonderfully delicious! I love all of the ingredients in this dish.

  12. Persia says:

    I tried it with chicken breast and it turned out great!

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