Faye Levy’s Chicken in Persian Pomegranate Walnut Sauce (Photos: Yakir Levy)

Faye Levy’s Chicken in Persian Pomegranate Walnut Sauce


This recipe for the traditional Persian dish of chicken in walnut and pomegranate sauce was posted by Barbara Hansen at tableconversation.com on January 14, 2019.  The recipe appears in two of acclaimed author, culinary columnist, food teacher, and food journalist Faye Levy’s best-selling cookbooks: Feast from the Mideast and 1,000 Jewish Recipes.

Faye is a treasure trove of information on Middle Eastern shopping and cooking — with extensive travel to keep up with the cuisines.  In Faye’s words, “From the Fertile Crescent, where agriculture began, to the extravagant tables of Ottoman emperors, the Mideast boasts a surpassingly rich culinary heritage.”  This author brings 250 time-honored recipes into the 21st century American kitchen. Accessible and authentic dishes, helpful shopping tips, and her trademark user-friendly approach make Feast from the Mideast a must-have introduction to a vibrant international cuisine.

A native of Washington, D.C., whose experience at her family dining table was not very exciting to her, Faye visited and fell in love with the Middle East — and Yakir Levy, the man who became her husband and has been for many years — the first time she visited Israel.  She worked at the Tel Aviv University library, as she tells it, finagling a way to listen to the food expert of the day on her weekly radio show.  The Levys are well known experts in the Middle East who have lived and traveled in the region.

As a culinary columnist and cooking teacher, Faye is the author of 23 cookbooks in English, Hebrew and French.  She lived in Israel for seven years, where she studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and at Tel Aviv University, and graduated magna cum laude in sociology and anthropology.  But Faye’s passion was learning about cooking, so she obtained a job as the assistant of Israel’s ”grande dame de cuisine,” cookbook author Ruth Sirkis, and worked with her for two years.

Later Faye and Yakir moved to France where she spent five years at La Varenne, the Parisian cooking school and earned the “Grand Diplome” of the first cooking class.  With Fernand Chambrette she authored La Cuisine du Poisson on the cooking of fish and became the first American to publish a book on French cooking — for the French. The Levys have written articles for the Los Angeles Times and the Jerusalem Post.  Faye has written for other major newspapers throughout the U.S., and for Gourmet Magazine, Bon Appetit, Chocolatier and Vegetarian Times.

For almost four decades, Faye has shopped, cooked, and dined her way through the Middle East, and her enthusiasm for this flavorful, unfussy cuisine will inspire you to make these ancient culinary traditions your own. Featuring the bold flavors and simple, healthy techniques of more than ten countries, Feast from the Mideast has dishes for every occasion, from dinner-party feasts to quick and healthy weekday meals.

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Faye’s repertoire of specialties ranges from a simple sandwich enlivened by a zesty Grilled Eggplant Sesame Dip to elegant Grilled Lamb Chops spiced up with Garlic Cumin Tomato Salsa.  She won a James Beard Cookbook Award for Faye Levy’s International Vegetable Cookbook; three of her other books won The International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) cookbook awards. She became the main cooking columnist of the Jerusalem Post in 1990 and writes for the Orange County Register in California.



2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 1/2 pounds chicken pieces, rinsed and patted dry

1 large onion, chopped

People: Faye Levy

1 1/2 to 2 cups walnuts

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (optional)

1 1/2 to 2 cups pomegranate juice or 1/3 to 1/2 cup pomegranate paste

1/2 cup water or chicken broth (if using pomegranate juice), or 1 1/2 cups water or broth (if using paste)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 to 2 tablespoons tomato paste, or 3 to 4 tablespoons tomato sauce (optional)

1 teaspoon ground cardamom, or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste

1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice, or to taste

1 to 2 teaspoons sugar, or to taste

1/3 to 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)

1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley (optional)

A few toasted walnuts (optional)


Serves 4-6.


Heat oil in heavy casserole or Dutch oven.  Add chicken in batches and sauté over medium-high heat until brown.  Remove chicken to plate.

Discard fat from pan, leaving 1 to 2 tablespoons.  Add onion to pan and sauté over medium heat for seven minutes, or until golden.  Meanwhile, finely chop walnuts with pulsing motion of a food processor.  Reduce heat under onion pan to low.  Stir in flour, then walnuts, and cook over low heat, stirring, for 1 minute.  Stir in pomegranate juice and 1/2 cup water, or pomegranate paste and 1 1/2 cups water, and bring to a simmer, stirring.

Add chicken and any juices on plate to pan.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook over low heat about 35 minutes for breast pieces or 40 to 45 minutes for leg and thigh pieces, or until chicken is tender, turning occasionally.  Remove chicken from pan; add tomato paste, if you like, and cardamom to sauce and simmer until thickened to your taste.

Taste and add lemon juice and sugar if needed.  If you like, whisk in a few more teaspoons pomegranate juice or paste.  Return chicken to sauce and heat through.  Serve hot, garnished with pomegranate seeds, parsley or walnuts, or all three.



Connect at: Facebook: @FoodbyFaye and @faye.levy.9 or Instagram @foodfaye or Twitter: @foodfaye

ORDER TODAY: Feast from the Mideast: 250 Sun-Drenched Dishes from the Lands of the Bible (Cookbooks) Hardcover – October 1, 2003.  Go to:











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