Rosh Hashanah is approaching very fast. It is traditional to serve pomegranate for Rosh Hashanah.
Why pomegranate? Well, on the second day of Rosh Hashanah we are commanded to eat of new fruit that we have not yet eaten this season. As pomegranates are harvested in the Fall, this is often the fruit of choice. More symbolically, our tradition teaches us that a pomegranate has 613 seeds. Similarly, there are 613 mitzvos we are commanded to perform in our holy scriptures.
Anyway, Fessenjan is a Persian Walnut Stew. Although this recipe uses duck, you can use chicken. The procedure will be different, as will the taste. However, it will still be good.
My recipe has been modified from one given to me by a member of the Jewish community here in Great Falls. I don’t like using names on the Internet without permission.
I enjoyed this recipe very much. I hope you enjoy it as well.
5 cups finely ground walnuts
1 cup concentrated pomegranate juice
2 TBL Tomato paste
1 – 2 lbs. quartered duck. Bone in and skin on, please!
1 onion, grated
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp baking soda
Salt and Pepper
1 cup basmati rice
handful pine nutes
2 quart chicken stock
1 pomegranate, seeded
Start the rice cooking in the chicken broth. You know how to make rice, right?
While the rice is cooking, toast the ground walnuts briefly in a nonstick fry pan. Lower the heat to a simmer and add about 3/4 inch of water. Add the pomegranate juice and tomato paste and simmer 45 minutes. The surface should get oily from the walnut oil. You should stir this so the walnuts don’t develop a crust.
Meanwhile, add about 3/4″ of water to a dutch oven. Score the duck skin with a knife. Place the duck pieces in a steamer basket, and steam them in the covered dutch oven for about 25 minutes. This will render out most of the duck fat, which is about the best stuff ever.
Reserve the duck pieces and boil the water until most of it is evaporated. What is left in your pan is white gold, rendered duck fat. Scoop it into an appropriate vessel, leaving about 4 TBL in the pot.
Cube the duck meat, removing the bones. Sear the duck meat, and then add the onion. After the onions have become translucent, add the tumeric, salt and pepper. Stir and add 1 quart chicken stock. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered. Add the walnut mixture to the stew, and cook over low heat for 15 minutes.
Add the pine nuts and pomegranate seeds to the cooked rice. Serve the stew over the rice.