Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lamb Fesenjan - Persian Lamb Stew with Pomegranate & Walnuts

Pomegranate molasses. It's certainly having a little dance across the culinary world at the moment isn't it? Amongst a raft of other vinegars and preserves which seem to be de rigeur at the moment. And i'm a sucker for some fads, and pomegranate molasses is one of them!

But rather than go out and spend $20 on a pretty slender jar of the stuff, it's unbelievably easy to make at home. Pomegranate juice, lemon juice, sugar. Boil to a syrup. The end!

But then you're left over with some. And you scratch your head as to what on earth to do with it beyond a delicious salad dressing. Well! That's where the crafty Persians come into the mix. Bring on the Fesenjan!

This beautiful stew is like no other i've ever eaten. The slight acidity of the molasses reminds me of the tartness of tamarind in a thai curry, or of vinegar in a vindaloo. But it's much more delicate than either, and the bitter nuttiness of the walnuts adds another level of dimension.

Ingredients (Serves 3)

  • 600gm diced lean lamb
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 1.5 cups walnuts
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock
  • 1tbsp cardammom
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric
  • 3 small onions / 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil


Process the walnuts in a blender until coarsely pureed

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat then add the onions
Sautee until the onions are lightly browned

Add the lamb and brown well

Add the spices and sautee for a further 30 seconds
Add the stock and bring to the boil

Reduce to a simmer, cover and leave for 1 hour
Add the walnuts and polasses and season to taste.

Cover and continue to cook for a further hour.
Serve with saffron rice and garnished with spring onions.


  1. Welcome back! This looks yummy. Is there a reason you simmer for an hour before adding the walnuts and molasses? Or can you just chuck it all in at once and leave it for two hours? I want to try this in my new pressure cooker, see... ;)

  2. thanks Billy :) No real method behind the madness of waiting an hour before i put the walnuts/pomegranate in. I just tend to wait as long as i can before adding thickener in case it catches on the bottom of the pot. But i've never used a pressure cooker so not sure if it's an issue! How exciting!

  3. Ah ok, that makes sense. Will test it out soon and let you know how it goes!

  4. Just finished. :) Turned out pretty great!

    I used lamb neck, because I thought the pressure cooker would make short work of the toughness of the cut (which it did) and pressure cooked it for 20 minutes, released the pressure, then added the molasses and walnuts and pressure cooked for another 20 minutes. SO melty soft, and I love the pomegranate tartness!

    Thanks for the recipe, and keep up the great work! :) :)

  5. yay! Lamb neck would be a better cut, agreed! Or shoulder mmmm. I want a pressure cooker!

  6. A warning: pressure cooking is addictive.



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