• March 24, 2014

    Persian Pomegranate-Walnut Lamb Stew

    by

    It was a strange coincidence last week when I forayed into Persian cuisine with this sumptuous lamb stew… and it happened to be the Persian new year. A couple of weeks ago I made pancakes for breakfast for the first time in ages and ages… and later that day I realized it was pancake Tuesday. I must have food-focused holidays imprinted in my subconscious.

    I recently bought a cookbook – The New Persian Kitchen, by Louisa Shafia, and it has me totally enamoured. I’ve read it cover-to-cover about three times. I haven’t cooked from it a ton yet, but I love Louisa’s style: fruit- and vegetable-centric recipes and inspired flavour combinations (mostly classic Iranian, plus many of her own twists). Think pomegranates, lime, fresh herbs by the bunch, yogurt, sumac, pistachios, saffron – really gorgeous flavours.

    This was the first recipe I tried, and I can’t believe I changed it (well, I can believe it actually). But my good friend Fariba is a wonderful Persian cook, and has made this (or a similar) stew for me with lamb. She always puts so much love into her food that I got the warm fuzzies when I thought about making it again in my own kitchen. Other than swapping the chicken out for lamb, though, I did follow Louisa’s recipe.

    The foundation for this stew is walnuts, providing a toasty-nutty backdrop, and a generous pour of tangy-sweet pomegranate molasses. The flavour is really interesting – quite tart indeed, but balanced by lots of onion and earthy beet.

    I like that there aren’t many ingredients – really simple to make, with impressive results. I served mine with fragrant saffron rice and a green salad. The only thing I’d do differently next time is double the recipe!

    Ingredients

    • vegetable oil, for searing
    • sea salt
    • 2 lbs lamb leg or shoulder, cut in 1″ cubes (or skinless chicken legs, per original recipe)
    • 2 yellow onions, finely diced
    • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely ground
    • 1/2 cup pomegranate molasses
    • 2 cups chicken stock
    • 1 cup peeled and grated beets

    Preparation

    1. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium high; add a splash of oil and brown lamb on all sides. Transfer to a plate.
    2. Drain all but 2 tbsp fat from the skillet. Add onions and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, until golden. Stir in walnuts and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
    3. Add pomegranate molasses and stock; bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and return lamb to the stew. Stir in beets. Cover and cook until lamb is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Season to taste with salt.
    by

    Hi, I'm Jennifer Pallian, BSc, RD. I studied cooking, baking and food chemistry in a university lab, have years of experience as a professional test kitchen recipe developer and providing technical baking support to bakeries and home bakers. Want to know why your bread didn't rise? I've got your back.I now work full-time as a blogger, putting the years of science and baking to work right here. On Foodess, I share the best recipes in my arsenal - tested-till-PERFECT recipes for cozy baking, easy recipes for weeknight meals and delicious globally-inspired comfort food, plus lots of science-based cooking and baking tips. Welcome!

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