Pomegranate Khoresh

Khoresh in Persian stands for a stewed type of sauce, prepared with meat and fresh or dried vegetables and fruits. Pomergranate Khoresh is traditionally made with duck. The affinity between pomegranate and duck goes back to ancient times in Persia, when the wild duck bounced into the kitchen being fed on hemp seeds and the butter of olives. The finest meal possible is a duck served in a pomegranate sauce. This recipe recreates the ancient dish.

Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour

Servings: 4

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, butter, or ghee
2 small onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 pound skinless and boneless chicken or duck breast cut into thin strips
2 large carrots or 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, thin strips
1/2 pound shelled walnuts, toasted
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pomegranate paste diluted in 2 1/2 cups water or 4 cups fresh pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground saffron threads, dissolved in 1 tablespoon

1 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted


1. In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and stir-fry 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the chicken and fry for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
Add the carrot strips and stir-fry 2 minutes longer.

2. Finely grind the toasted walnuts in a food processor. Add the salt, diluted pomegranate paste, sugar, cinnamon, and saffron water and mix well to create a smooth, creamy sauce.
Transfer the sauce to the pot, cover and simmer for 40 minutes over very low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to prevent the nuts from burning.

3. Taste the sauce and adjust for seasoning and thickness. This khoresh should be sweet and sour, and the consistency of heavy cream.
Add diluted pomegranate paste for sourness or sugar for sweetness. If the sauce is too thick, thin it with warm water.

4. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

5. Serve hot with saffron steamed rice.

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