Khoresh-e Fesenjān , or simply Fesenjān,
is an Iranian stew flavored with pomegranate syrup and ground walnuts . It is traditionally made with poultry , but also variants using balls of ground meat, ghormeh cut lamb, fish, or no meat at all are not unusual. Depending on the cooking method, it can have sweet or sour taste. It is served with Persian white or yellow rice .
It is also found in Iraq and Azerbaijan
This khoresh is also a very old and popular dish with all Iranians. It is mandatory at all festival dinners and the public food servings of the religious nights of Ramadan and Muharram. It may be made of duck, partridge, chicken, lamb or veal hind shin, shoulder, or ground meat.
1 large onion, minced
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons butter or cooking oil
1 pound meat or a small duck or partridge
½ pound walnut meat, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup hot water
1 ½ cups pomegranate juice
Salt to taste
Juice of 1 or 2 lemons (optional)
1 small eggplant
1 ½ teaspoons cardamom powder
Sauté the onion with the pepper and turmeric in the butter or the oil until well browned. Remove onion and drain. If ground meat is used, make small balls and brown slightly in the oil remaining in the pan. If birds are used, brown them on all sides.
Sprinkle meat or birds with the flour and the chopped walnuts and sauté for a few minutes longer. Add water, pomegranate juice, and salt to taste and , if you like a sourer dish, the lemon juice. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
Peel eggplant, cut lengthwise into 6 or 8 pieces, sprinkle each piece with salt, and stack one on top of the other for a few minutes to drain .Then rinse in cold water, dry , and sauté in hot oil until lightly browned on both sides. Arrange the eggplant on top of the meat or poultry, partially cover, and simmer over low heat until the eggplant is tender and a rich, brown gravy rises to the top. Add powdered cardamom, stir well but gently, and cook about 5 minutes longer. Serve with chelo.
1pound white fish or salmon may be used instead of meat or poultry. In this case the cooking time will be about 15 minutes less. Also either of the following vegetables may be substituted for the eggplant :one pound fresh pumpkin meat, minced and sautéed , or one pound Italian squash halved and sautéed.
Sometimes I use lemon or lime juice, brown sugar, and ½ cup tomato juice when pomegranate juice is not available.