Adapted from a recipe posted by Emma Fernlund (firstname.lastname@example.org), from Persian Cooking: A Table of Exotic Delights, by Nesta Ramazani 1974, ISBN 0-8139-0962-7.
I've made this with chicken and lamb, and have tweaked the spices, quantities, and procedure slightly. If using lamb, be careful that the rich sauce and spices doesn't overpower the mild flavor of the meat. This is a very rich dish and will feed about 8 with the proportions given.
2 large Onions, chopped or sliced 5 Tbsp Butter 1 large Fryer Chicken or 5 whole chicken breasts -- or -- 2.5 pounds Lamb, boneless, cut into 1 inch cubes 16 ounces Beef bullion 1 cup Water (I've used chicken and lamb stock too) 2 1/2 cups Walnuts, ground: some fine, some corn-kernel size (I find the texture too thick if ground uniformly fine) 4.5 Tbsp Pomegranate Syrup (substitute sour cranberry juice) 2-3 Tbsp Sugar 2-3 tsp Salt 1/2 tsp Saffron (or turmeric) 1/4 tsp Cinnamon (best if ground from stick instead of pre-ground) 1/4 tsp Nutmeg 1/4 tsp Pepper 2 Tbsp Lemon juice 6 pods Cardamom, ground 3 Cloves, ground
Saute the onions in 2 Tbsp of the butter until golden brown.
Remove from the pan.
Add 3 more Tbsp of butter and saute the chicken/lamb pieces until lightly browned.
Add the bouillon and sauteed onions.
Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
Bone if needed.
While that's cooking...
Toast the ground walnuts in a saucepan or skillet until aromatic.
Prepare the sauce by stirring the water into the ground walnuts.
Stir in the pomegranate syrup and sugar, and simmer gently over a low heat for 10-15 minutes.
Add the walnut sauce to the cooked, chicken/lamb and onions.
Add the seasonings and the lemon juice.
Cover and simmer gently for another hour.
Adjust the seasonings by adding a little sugar if too sour, or more
pomegranate syrup if too sweet.
The chicken pieces should be coated with a rich, dark, sweet-sour sauce; there should be plenty of thick sauce.
Serve with rice. Couscous also works well.