Happy Nowruz! Persian New Year Recipes from Aria (Part 1 of 3): Fesenjan Pomegranate Walnut Sauce
March brings the Spring Vernal Equinox and with it...the Persian New Year, Nowruz! For those of you who don't already know, my father's side is Persian and my mother's side is 1/2 Lebanese/Egyptian. Growing up around my two Grandmothers I was able to enjoy many different and wonderful dishes, from fresh Dolmathes and Pinenut Pasta on my Lebanese side to amazing kabobs, complex sauces, and colorful rice dishes from my Persian side. Today I am sharing with you a VERY special three-recipe meal. These three pieces come together to make a beautiful [vegetarian, gluten-free] dish that all can enjoy! Make sure to allow eight hours of prep and cook time!
What we are making today is a Pomegranate Walnut Sauce (Fesenjan) with Saffron Vegetable Rice and a Cucumber Mint Yogurt Salad (Mast-o-khiar). We will begin with the Pomegranate Walnut Sauce in this post! :)
Here is a finished plate with all three tastes balanced in perfect harmony!
Fesenjan (Pomegranate Walnut Sauce)
Prep Time ~ 1.5 hours
Cook Time ~ 4 hours
*Traditionally, Fesenjan is a meat dish with chicken breast. You can also experiment with firm tofu as well. I really enjoy this sauce without the extra protein. Feel free to add cooked chicken or tofu to the finished sauce.
Large cooking pot
4 Yellow Onions
7 Cups Walnuts
7 Cups Water
1 Bottle Pomegranate Molasses
Salt to taste
1. Rinse walnuts thoroughly.
2. Use the pulse setting to blend walnuts evenly (you may need to do this in multiple batches depending on the capacity of your blender).
3. Add the walnuts and water to your cooking pot.
4. Chop the onions and put them in the processor. Blend until homogeneous.
5. Add the onions to the pot with a pinch of salt and bring the pot to a boil, then turn down and let simmer for 2 hours with the lid cracked. Check on the pot regularly to make sure it is not boiling. Stir well every 20 minutes and if the sauce becomes too thick you may need to add a cup or so of water.
6. After two hours, empty the entire 10 oz bottle of the Pomegranate Molasses into the pot, stirring continuously.
7. Simmer for two more hours.
8. You will know the sauce is ready when it has thickened to about the consistency of a tomato sauce, has darkened in color (see picture), and the oil from the walnuts will create a small layer on the top!