Khoresh Kadu Halvaee (Persian Butternut Squash and Chicken Stew Recipe)

Khoresh Kadu Halvaee (Persian Butternut Squash and Chicken Stew Recipe)

Khoresh Kadu Halvaee (Persian Butternut Squash and Chicken Stew Recipe)
nutritional information (per serving)

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nutritional information
Servings: 4
amount per serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 7g36%
166 mg55%
786 mg34%
dietary fiber 11g39%
Total sugar 29g
Vitamin C 38 mg188%
Calcium 139 mg11%
iron 4 mg20%
Potassium 1355 mg29%
*The % Daily Value (DV) indicates how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories per day is used for general nutritional advice.

(Nutritional information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Khoresh, sometimes spelled khoresht, refers to an entire class of stews and stews and is a cornerstone of Persian cuisine.

The basis of many Persian stews is saffron, tomato, pomegranate or large amounts of herbs, and they can contain a wide variety of vegetables and meats. Khoresh is commonly served with Persian steamed basmati rice, a mix of flatbreads, and sides like yogurt and pickles.

This recipe pays homage to fall's popular butternut squash, prepared with tender chicken pieces and dried prunes. The broth is all about simplicity, but still offers a delicious combination of tart lime juice with a hint of sugar, topped off with a dash of blooming saffron to boot!

A more traditional recipe would use dried golden Persian plums (Aloo Bokhara). Not only are they bright and beautiful in colour, but more importantly, they are much more dynamic and aromatic than the traditional plum varieties, which tend to be just sweet. However, since they must be bought from Persian markets or online retailers, they have been replaced in this recipe with the more accessible variety of prunes.

Prepare Persian stews

Persian stews are not based on the simple approach of adding all the ingredients at once and cooking them together. Instead, there is a defined order for adding the ingredients.

  • Turmeric is almost always included in stews, especially when animal protein is included, and is incorporated early in the process. It gives the dish a soft golden hue and is widely believed to rid the meat of any unpleasant “gaminess”.
  • Salt is added later in the cooking process to prevent the meat from becoming tough. Tough meat is never acceptable in Persian cuisine.
  • Darker spices like black pepper and cinnamon are added later in the cooking process to avoid darkening the broth.
  • Saffron is added in the very last stages of cooking to preserve its colour, flavor and aroma.

Serve Persian stews

There is also an important concept called “Ja-oftaadan” which roughly translates to “to be firm”. This term encompasses methods of developing and emphasizing the richness of a stew and demonstrates the skill and knowledge of the cook.

  • Persian stews are never runny or watery. Of course, the final consistency of the stew will be affected by many factors, including the heat level, the size and type of pan used, and the amount of moisture that escapes from the pan as it cooks. While it's important to follow the recipe's quantities and directions, it's just as important to know what you want the final dish to look like. My tip is to imagine a plate filled with cooked rice on one side and stew on the other. While some of the liquid from the stew may slowly be absorbed into the rice, the stew should be thick enough that the rice never drowns in liquid. If your khoresh becomes drier while cooking, consider adding some water. Alternatively, if the stew is too watery, increase the flame and tilt the lid slightly to allow some excess moisture to evaporate.
  • Persian stews are rarely served piping hot fresh from the stove. Instead, they are removed from the heat source and allowed to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before being placed on serving dishes. During this resting phase, the cooking oil gradually collects on top of the stew, emphasizing its richness.

“This Persian stew is all about delicacy and balance. The sweet, spicy and fruity notes make for a delicious blend of flavors. The sauce may seem a bit too thin at first, but after 15 minutes of resting and cooling it will thicken. ” —Diana Chistruga

  • 3 tablespoon olive oildivided

  • 1 small butternut squashpeel and cut into cubes about 1.5 inches 4 cups

  • 4 Chicken pieces (thighs or breasts or a combination), with bones and skin

  • 1 large Onionrolled

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 1/2 cups Water

  • 1/2 teaspoon Floor Cinammon

  • 1 teaspoon Salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon reason black pepper

  • 2 tablespoon Sugaror more or less to taste

  • 4 tablespoon fresh lime juice

  • 1 Cup gutted plums

  • 1/2 heaped teaspoon Saffron Break up threads and dissolve in 2 tablespoons of water

  • 2 tablespoon pistachiossliced ​​or chopped

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    The spruce eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. In a large Dutch oven, sauté the butternut squash in 2 tablespoons olive oil until lightly golden brown, 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

    The spruce eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and sear the chicken pieces for 3 to 5 minutes on each side to add a touch of color. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.

    The spruce eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the oil to the saucepan, add the onion and sauté for 10 minutes.

    The spruce eats / Diana Chistruga

  5. Add turmeric and sauté for another 2 minutes.

    The spruce eats / Diana Chistruga

  6. Put the chicken back in the pot and then add the water. Cover and simmer on low heat for 60 minutes.

    The spruce eats / Diana Chistruga

  7. Add the cinnamon, salt, pepper, sugar, lime juice, prunes and the butternut squash. Cover and cook an additional 30 minutes, or until the chicken is quite tender.

    The spruce eats / Diana Chistruga

  8. Pour in the saffron water, stir gently and remove from the heat. Let the stew rest for 10 minutes before transferring to a serving platter.

    The spruce eats / Diana Chistruga

  9. Garnish with pistachios and serve with steamed basmati rice or flatbread.

    The spruce eats / Diana Chistruga

recipe variations

  • Instead of sautéing, butternut squash can be tossed with a few tablespoons of oil and a pinch of salt and roasted in the oven at 350F for 15 minutes.
  • Sugar squash or your favorite variety of winter squash can be substituted for butternut squash.
  • Previously fried chicken, even store-bought, can be reused and incorporated into this stew. Reduce the cooking time to 30 minutes.
  • Khoresh Kadu Halvaee can be served with beef or lamb instead of chicken.

recipe tip

Butternut squash can be prepared up to 2 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

How to store it

Store remaining stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Reheat in a covered pan over medium-low heat, adding a small amount of water if needed.

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