yesterday when i reading weblog from my google reader i saw a new delicious recipe from a beautiful and informative webliog on united state that writing about organic food. i decided to publish this subject to my weblog because it is very exitment for me and fesenjan is my favorite food.
One of the joys of September is that now the new season‚ ripe pomegranates start showing up. The season lasts through December.
The fresh juice is really the usable part of the fruit, and in its home territory of Armenia, Azerbaijan, northern Iraq, Iran, over to northern India, the juice is used to flavor and color rice, and to add zest to chicken, duck, and lamb. Iranian cooking makes frequent use of pomegranate juice, both fresh and boiled to sweet syrup.
The French word for pomegranate is grenade, hence the pomegranate syrup called grenadine. But grenadine is used mostly to color and flavor drinks and desserts, not for cooking. Recently both conventional and organic pomegranate juice has come on the market. It’s sweet and loaded with antioxidants, but nothing comes near the fresh juice for delicacy and that refreshing quality.
Extract the juice by placing a colander in the kitchen sink. Then quarter the pomegranate and turn on the cold water. Place each quarter under the running water and begin to turn it inside out, letting seeds fall into the colander and removing as much of the whitish-yellow membrane as you can. The membrane contains bitter and astringent tannins, which can negatively affect the juice. When all four segments have been emptied of seeds, turn off the water, drain the colander, and pick out any remaining bits of membrane.
The best way to get the juice out is to make a bag of a double thickness of cheesecloth, place the bag in a stainless saucepan or pot, and mash the bag with a potato masher, then twist and mash and twist the bag until the juice stops flowing.
Fresh pomegranate juice makes a very refreshing drink if given a little sweetener and splashed with sparkling water and a small squeeze of lime juice. Use some in the water when cooking white rice to give the rice a pleasant light color. Sweeten the juice and mix some into yogurt to eat in a bowl, or pour over bananas, or make a pomegranate-and-honey-flavored frozen yogurt. Marinate a butterflied leg of lamb in the fridge overnight in fresh pomegranate juice given some fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, and an ounce of Cointreau.
Fesenjan is the famous Iranian stew made with walnuts and pomegranate juice. It originated in the province of Gilan, where the shores of the Caspian Sea teem with wild ducks. Chicken or lamb chunks can be substituted for the duck.
4 Tbl. olive oil
1 large onion, minced
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp. turmeric
1 lb. duck breasts, cut into thin strips
1 Tbl. flour
½ lb. walnut meat, coarsely chopped
3 cups fresh pomegranate juice
Salt to taste
1 Tbl. lemon juice (optional)
1 Tbl. sugar (optional)
1 small eggplant
1 ½ tsp. cardamom powder
1. Heat a skillet with two tablespoons of the oil to medium heat, and sauté the onion with the pepper and turmeric for a few minutes, until the onion is translucent. Remove the onions and reserve, allowing any oil to remain in the skillet.
2. Sauté the duck in this skillet, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and the chopped walnuts and saute for three more minutes, turning once or twice. Add the pomegranate juice, and salt, if needed. The taste should be a nice balance of sweet and sour. If it needs more sour to balance the sweetness, add lemon juice. If it needs more sweetness, use a little sugar. Cover the skillet and reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon so the nuts don’t burn.
3. Peel the eggplant and cut lengthwise into six or eight pieces. Sprinkle each piece with salt and stack one on top of the other for five minutes, then rinse under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels then sauté in a second skillet over medium heat in the remaining olive oil until browned on both sides. When the eggplant is browned, arrange the pieces on top of the meat in the skillet, replace the cover, and continue simmering until 40 minutes total of simmering time has elapsed.
4. Add the cardamom powder and gently mix it into the stew. The sauce should be the consistency of heavy cream. If it’s too thick, dilute it with a little warm water. Serve the stew hot with plenty of white rice and let people take rice and stew as they wish.