October 01, 2015

Khoresh-e Holu - Persian Peach Stew with Chicken

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-mohabbat (love and kindness), compassion and respect for everyone into our lives. Here's a link to my previous post on Mehregan.

As much as I love the fall season it's always hard to say goodbye to the sweet flavor of peaches as well as the many other flavorful summer fruits. And for those that are not crazy about the fuzzy peach skin, there's always the option of smooth, sweet, and juicy nectarines. The best way to enjoy fresh summer fruit is to make a beautiful fruit platter or a colorful fruit salad. Many try to make the most of the fruits that are in season by making sweet and creamy summer deserts. In Persian cuisine, fresh and dried fruits such as apricots, quince, raisins, plums, and pomegranates are frequently used in savory dishes. Here are three examples of recipes made with fruits: Apple Khoresh with Dried Apricots, Fruit AshQuince Khoresh

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. Both dried peaches and fresh peaches are used in this recipe. Dried peaches are added in the beginning to cook along with the chicken pieces for added flavor and the fresh peaches are added toward the end of cooking since we don't want them to get mushy. You can substitute the dried peaches with dried plums or dried apricots.

Khoresh-e Holu - Peach Stew

Serves 4

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.
Serve warm with rice and salad shirazi.

Happy Autumn. Happy Mehregan!


  1. Wow. I will definitely have a go at that. The ingredients are going on my shopping list for next week! I'm salivating already :-)

    1. I have this on the stove. I had to alter it quite a bit because I either didn't have the ingredients or couldn't get hold of them. Our supermarket only has dried apricots, not dried peaches, and whole cardamom pods, not ground cardamom, so I had to use those. I used Quorn instead of chicken, for budgetary reasons, and tinned peaches in juice, also for budgetary reasons. I added a chicken stock cube to boost the 'chicken' flavour but we'll have to see whether it actually works with so many alterations(!)

    2. Sandy, let me know how it turned out for you!

    3. Everyone loved it :-) Wonderful recipe.

    4. So glad you enjoyed it. Thank you!

  2. This looks amazing. I love that you used peaches in the khoresht. I'm not ready for summer to end, either. But I am glad we are deep into peach season!

  3. I LOVE khoresh with chicken and stone fruit! It's so flavorful and fresh-tasting! You've inspired me to get up and make some! Merci and Happy Mehregan, Azita Joon!

  4. Azita joon, every time you post a recipe, I want to rush to my kitchen and make it! This looks so delicious. I'll see if I can find peaches and make it for dinner tonight. Happy Mehregan!

  5. Dried peaches as well? that was bit confusing. could one use tofu or a non-meat product as well to complete this dish?

    1. Jeff, fresh peaches are too delicate and they will get mushy if cooked for too long. Therefore, adding dried peaches will give the stew more of a fruit flavor. You may substitute dried peaches with dried plums or dried apricots. You can use tofu, potatoes or any other non-meat products for this khoresh. I hope you'll give this recipe a try.

  6. How about a whole cut-up chicken?

  7. Azita joon, it looked amazing ...I'm not an expert in cooking, but I think with your recipe, I will give it a try :) thanks for sharing and Happy Mehregan :)

  8. Yum!!! I really want to try this khoresht! Such beautiful colors, thanks for your lovely recipe Azita joon, hope you had a nice Mehregan! :) x

  9. Looks very delicious.yummy!! Definitely going to try.

  10. Azita jan, This is a very juicy, peachy post! The khoresh looks very delectable. I love khoresh'e hulu and make them with fresh peach in the summer and with preserved ones in the winter. My apologies for a delayed comment on this special Mehregan post. I was travelling and just returned. xx :)

  11. Interesting combination. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Amazing photos! Looks so delicious!!!