I was planning on making this savory peach khoresh during the summer when the lush peaches were at their peak but somehow I just didn't get around to it. Now, several days past the autumnal equinox, I think this savory peach chicken stew is the perfect farewell to summer as well as a delicious way to celebrate the beginning of fall and مهرگان - Mehregan. Mehregan is the annual ancient Persian festival of autumn's bounty and the feast of Mithra the symbol of kindness, friendship, love, and light. I believe now more than ever that we need to reach deep within and incorporate the message of مهر و محبت mehr-o-mohabat (love and kindness), compassion and respect for everyone into our lives. Here's a link to my previous post on Mehregan.
This خورش هلو - peach khoresh is well balanced between sweet and sour due to the slight acidity of the fresh lime juice and the slightly sweet brown sugar. For a more sweet flavor you may use honey or white sugar instead of brown sugar. This dish may be made with lamb, beef or chicken. I didn't peel the peaches but if you find them extra fuzzy you may want to remove the skin. I made khoresh -e holu using tomato sauce but after tasting the two stews I do prefer the taste of the stew without the tomato sauce.
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 firm, slightly under-ripe yellow peaches, peel, remove the pits and cut into slices
4 dried peaches, cut in half
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil or olive oil
- Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a pan, add the sliced onion and saute until light brown over medium-high heat.
- Add the minced garlic and turmeric and saute for another 2 minutes or so.
- Add the chicken, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and saute until the chicken is no longer pink in the center.
- Add the dried peaches, cardamom and stir to combine.
- Add water to cover the chicken pieces. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover and cook for 40 minutes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced peaches and saute lightly on both sides for a couple of minutes.
- Add the sliced peaches to the pot with the chicken.
- Add cinnamon, lime juice and sugar, stir gently, cover and simmer for another 15-20 minutes over medium-low heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Please do check out my talented fellow Persian food bloggers posts for Mehregan!
Happy Autumn. Happy Mehregan!