Description :

Fesenjān—an iconic Persian braise—gets its signature sweet-and-sour flavor from pomegranate molasses and its velvety texture from ground walnuts.

Ingredient :

  •  3 cups walnut halves (about 10 ounces; 285g)

  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil, divided

  • 1 pound (450g) boneless lamb leg or boneless beef chuck, cut in to 1- to 1 1/2-inch chunks

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 small yellow or red onion (about 4 ounces; 114g), diced 

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 cup pomegranate molasses (about 11 ounces; 330g)

  • 2 tablespoons sugar (25g)

  • Fresh pomegranate seeds, for serving (optional)

  • Tahdig and chelow, for serving (see notes)

Direction :

  1. In a food processor, pulse walnuts until the size of coarse cornmeal, scraping down sides with a rubber spatula as necessary, about 12 one-second pulses. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of ground walnuts.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Season meat with salt and pepper, then add to Dutch oven in a single layer. Cook, turning occasionally until meat is well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a rimmed baking sheet or a large plate; set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining lamb fat in the Dutch oven, over medium heat until shimmering. (If Dutch oven is dry with no remaining fat in the Dutch oven, add 1 tablespoon oil). Add onion and cook until just beginning to turn golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. 
  4. Sprinkle turmeric over onion, and cook, stirring constantly until onion is well coated and turmeric is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add 2 cups water to Dutch oven and bring to boil over high heat, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon.
  6. Stir in browned meat and any accumulated juices, ground walnuts, pomegranate molasses, and sugar and bring to boil. Adjust heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the braise is dark brown, meat is fork-tender, and oil from the walnuts has come to the surface, 1 1/2 to 2 hours; stir gently every 15 minutes and adjust heat as needed to maintain gentle simmer throughout. Add water while braising if needed to avoid scorch on the bottom of the pan and to maintain stew consistency. Season with additional salt, if desired (keep in mind that this dish should not have an overt saltiness, but instead should lean into its tart-sweet flavor profile).

  7. Transfer braise to heat-proof serving bowl. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, if using. Serve with tahdig and chelow.

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