Pomegranates, and walnuts produce a delicious and tangy sauce in this Khoresht Fesenjan, a kick-ass Persian Stew!
Over the last few weeks I have found – yet again – a new foodie crush: walnuts. The love for walnuts is so strong that I will be bringing you two, yes two, walnut based recipes in this week alone.
Walnuts are my new foodie best friend (until I find my new foodie best friend next week, you understand).
And this foodie crush on walnuts is a little weird because I have a strange relationship with nuts in that I’m not exactly a great lover of them. There is the exception of cashews because cashews are life as seen in the numerous recipes I use them in (such as here, here, and here) but that’s where the love usually stops.
Peanuts for example: I really do not like them (don’t even think about brining that jar of peanut butter near me) but, crush them up along with garlic, giner, soy sauce and other such yummy ingredients and I’ll be shovelling that satay sauce into my mouth like there is no tomorrow.
And walnuts fall onto my foodie spectrum in the same sort of manner. I’ve heard so many people say how much they love eating walnuts as part of a cheese plater or in a salad but, for me, it’s “meh”
I don’t get the fuss.
That is until you grind them up and use them, along with pomegranates, as a base for a sauce in a Persian Stew.
Then I’m in love – crazy, food-blogger style!
Khoresht Fesenjan Magic
So here’s the amazing thing about Khoresht Fesenjan: the sauce is made from nothing but ground walnuts and pomegranate juice. I mean, how awesome is that?
Have you ever in you life as a culinary hero thought let’s crush some nuts, combine it with fruit juice, and use it as a sauce for a savoury main dish?
Have you every though that? Have you ever considered doing this (without being told to do so by a frantic food blogger?)
Becuase, up until I made khoresht fesenjan for the first time, I don’t think I have ever thought of this.
Sure I’ve added fruit to meals before: that morrocan-inspired tajine would not be a tajine without the dried apricots; the chicken Normandy would not be a chicken Normandy without the apples; and don’t even think about serving me tacos without a bucket of lime wedges – but as a sauce ?
And so the slightly sweet, slightly tangy, totally awesome sauce that makes up this khoresht fesenjan recipe has completely changed my mind and I think all sauces should be made out of fruit juice and nuts!
Making Khoresht Fesenjan
Ok, so the process of making khoresht fesenjan is a breeze and, if it wasn’t for the 2 to 3 hours of simmering that needs to be done to create that thick and delicious walnut and pomegranate sauce – I would say it’s the perfect weekday dinner because there’s very little active work involved.
Onions and garlic are going to be sautéed until soft and fragrant in a large pot or pan. Then you’re going to add Advieh – a delicious Persian spice blend. You can find Advieh in certain specialty groceries (if you happen to live near an Iranian grocery – this would be your best bet) or online. However, you could also make your own following the recipe I have in my ebook “Herb and Spice Blends” (which you can get for free if you subscribe to Thye to Mango’s newsletter). It’s made with a bunch of everyday ingredients (except for rose petal leaves) and packs an incredible punch of kick-ass, Persian style flavour!
Once the Advieh has been added, along comes the meat. What kind of meat you use is up to you, your preference, and your budget. Khoresht Fesenjan is usually made with chicken but I have seen instances of it made with duck (I gather duck is saved for special occasions or celebrations although I’m not 100% sure about this)
I went with duck, because I’ve been eating so much chicken lately that I’m a little chickened out, and it was amazing! But chicken, or even beef or pork, would do well – because the emphasis on this meal is about the sauce…
Which comes NOW! Ground walnuts and and pomegranate juice are poured into the pan and this is when the magic happens: the entire stew is placed on a steady simmer for at least two hours. The sauce reduces and thickens into a thick, gravy-like consistency.
Read: Kick-ass Persian Stew Awesomeness!
And then you’re going to serve this Khoresht Fesenjan along with fragrant Persian-style yellow rice and stuff your face like the classy foodie you are!
Or that’s why I did anyway!
Until next time foodies!
Khoresht Fesenjan Persian Stew with Pomegranate and Walnut Sauce
Pomegranates and walnuts come together to produce a delicious and tangy sauce in this kick-ass Persian Stew known as Khoresht Fesenjan
- several tbsp olive oil
- 250g onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 800g duck/ chicken breasts (or other meat of choice)
- 300g walnuts
- 3 cups (750ml) pomegranate juice
- 1 1/2 tbsp Advieh (see notes)
- 400g pumpkin, cut into small cubes
- 1/4 cup pomegranate arils & 1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped, for garnish (optional)
- Grind the walnuts in a food processor or blender, set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and sear each side of the duck or chicken breasts for a minute on each side. Remove and set aside. Add the onions and cook for five or so minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant. Add the advieh and stir until thoroughly combined with the onions.
- Return the duck/ chicken breasts to the pan along with the ground walnuts and pomegranate juice. Stir until well combined. Bring to the boil then reduce to a gentle simmer and cook for an hour, stirring frequently.
- Add the diced pumpkin. At this point you can remove the duck/ chicken breads and shred and then return to the pan, or just keep them whole (if you shred them, it makes a kick-ass sandwich filler the next day!). Cook for another hour, uncovered, or until the liquid in the pan has reduced and thickened to a thick, gravy-like consistency.
- Serve with rice and optional garnishes, or keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.